Table of Forms—Morphologic Poetics

Morphologic poetics refers to poetic forms based on excluding or specifying certain words. Perhaps the only recognized morphologic poetic form is the sestina. The sestina is a bizarre example: it specifies certain words and a location for them but places few restrictions on what words are allowable between the specified words. To my mind, a more formally beautiful example of a morphologic poetics can be found in certain of the books written by Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat has a vocabulary of exactly 250 words. Green Eggs and Ham has a vocabulary of exactly 50 words. Carole Maso's The American Woman in the Chinese Hat supposedly was written with a vocabulary that decreases throughout the book. Harry Mathew's Declerations of Independence was written using as its vocabulary pool a list of English idioms.

Haiku and the pantoum are conventional poetic forms whose tehcniques can be reapplied at the level of the word. Some techniques of typographic poetics offer ways of arranging letters that can be reapplied at the level of the word, such as the homgram and heterogram. The serial technique of the anagram can be reapplied at the level of the word: a word anagram is a rearrangement of the sequence of words of a source text. Newspoem 23 May 1998, Triple Anagram, and Rishi Talks to Katie are all triple anagrams—a text's sentences are rearranged, then its words, then its letters. Christmas Eve is a liponym (form derived from the lipogram)—a poem that seeks to deliberately exclude a particular word

Manifesto: a number poem manifesto with ten sentences of ten words each

[flicker poetry]: metaflickerpoem—an explanation of flicker poetry written as a flicker poem

ARTplay: a flicker poem in which two texts are presented simultaneously by alternating words

Applications: a flicker poem in which four texts (applications) are presented simultaneously by alternating words

Knights of Pious County: a micropantoum. (A pantoum is a Malayan poetic form with four-line stanzas in which lines two and four of any stanza become lines one and three of the following stanza. A micropantoum, here, is a poem with four-word lines in which words two and four of any line become words one and three of the line after the next line.)

[portmantwords]: A portmanteau word (identified by Lewis Carroll) is a neologism (made-up word) made by combining two phonetically related words, usually by pivoting on a syllable

portman dactyl and amphibrach womantoes: a poem using portmanteau words

Rishi Talks to Katie: a word palindrome—a poem whose sequence of words is the same forwards and backwards

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Dominique Fitzpatrick-O'Dinn
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