March 02, 2006
New poetic form: the "papet"
My friend told me the great author Borges once said the mistake young writers always make is inventing new poetic forms instead of training on proven, old ones.
Here then, is a poetic form I invented. I call it the "Papet".
It's the first form I've ever fully invented, although, as Borges predicted, every time I write a poem, I try to invent a new form. The difference is that usually I invent three or four forms all in the same poem, and this time I've stuck to just one.
This form is very mathematical, so I think it will impose a lot of discipline on anyone that tries to use it. Here it is.
(I call it the "Papet" because lots of poetic forms end with "et".)
- You pick three words U, V, W.
- You write three stanzas.
- Four lines per stanza.
- The rhyme scheme of each stanza is ABBA.
- In stanza one, you may use any words you wish, but you must include the words U and V, but not W.
- In stanza two, you may use any words you wish, but you must include the words U and W, but not V.
- In stanza three, you may use any words you wish, but you must include the words V and W, but not U.
You are not limited to the same form of U, V and W in all the stanzas; for example, if U is a verb, it may appear in present tense in the first stanza, and in the infinitive in another stanza. However, if U, V and W appear in the same form in all stanzas, this variant is called "Monastic".
If, furthermore, U, V and W all take the same form at all times, that is that form(U) = form(V) = form(W), this variant is called "Bartholomæic".
If U, V and W each take a different form in each stanza, this variant is called "Contemporary".
As for rhyming, the words U, V and W do not have to participate in the rhyme. However, if they do participate in the final rhyming syllable, then this variant is called "The royal".
Here is an example papet. I chose the words (U, V, W) = ("udder", "volt", "wet").
One young man dreamt of an udder. If he ever perceived one, he'd bolt-- Oh--you'd gasp how fast: as a volt. His dream tempted him as knives, butter.
You'd think he wanted one as a pet. While sailing, he'd saw R's off his rudder. But his boat would not produce udder. And he would often sink and get wet.
third stanza (commonly known as the "crescendo")
He grew older, failed to stay a young colt. Got about as old as you can get. And revealed the two on his breast, you bet: The secret kept lifelong, he flew like a volt.
There you are. You'll notice that this fulfills both the "The royal" and the "Bartholomæic" conditions. In this case, "The royal" trumps, so this is a "The royal papet".
There's still a lot of work to be done, such as defining the meter, or different variants based on meter, and finding the optimal variants. I believe that this form will work best in a short footprint, such as an iambic or spondaic tetrameter, where you really squeeze down the number of syllables in one line, but I haven't performed the necessary experiments yet. There's also work to be done on exploiting the "Contemporary" variant, where the forms change, which I think in our day is more promising than the "The royal".
Anyhow, I publicly release it here (under the GPL 3.0 license, of course), and I hope that you enjoy compiling with it, and letting me know of your progress.
My slender dove, it's adorable how you
undulate your vagina when we watch
a comic film. With a magnet's calm, to your crotch
my eyes sway. Are you aware of what you do?
Your mirth must be ecstatic, for this throb
that undulates my own sturdy wood in turn
only happens -- so I gradually learned --
when your laugh is so thrillingly strong that you sob.
But I fear awakening you to the pulse down there.
Like a locket that cradles a beloved crush,
I clasp the secret of your laugh's vaginal rush
so your mirth never constrains, wooden and self-aware.
Yes, this is certainly a "contemporary". I'm going to write more of these!