How to Write an Anagram Poem

It's like Text Twist, but with poetry.

It’s National Poetry Month, people! That means that many writers, even fiction writers like me, are reading and/or writing poetry every single day. For those of you who would love to write poems but don’t know where to start, for people who work best with boundaries, or for anyone who loves word puzzles, I would like to suggest the anagram poem. It’s a little gimmicky, perhaps, but it’s also challenged me to use words I normally wouldn’t have chosen.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Choose a single-word title (longer words work better; I like to aim for eleven letters).
  2. Find as many words as you can within that title that contain four letters or more (one-, two-, and three-letter words are not allowed–they’re too easy).
  3. Write a poem with the same number of lines as there are letters in the title. Each line must end with one of the words contained within the title word, and the poem should address the idea in the title. No two lines may end with the same word. You may not add -s or -ing or -ed…or any other suffix or prefix.

Here’s an example of my own:

officemates

 

we’re a team,

you and me—we drink coffee

at our computers, sift

emails where our elbows meet

the same space in soft

light—mice

in monitor glow, safe

together and separate, mates

in a spatial sense, no ties—

but notice my feet

crossing inches, the smile on my face

For better examples, look here.

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