INFORM POETS – ALPHABET (OR ABECEDARIAN)

Every so often, you need to go back to basics. So today we are dealing with the ABC of poems, the Alphabet or Abecedarian poem. There are many different ways to write an alphabet poem.

You can write a poem as a twenty-six word poem with each word starting with a different letter of the alphabet.  A technique for writing this type of poem is to lay out the alphabet ahead of time so you can quickly reference the letters used (or still in play!)

You can also do this consecutively through the alphabet:

A barbaric canopy divided elephant
flag givers high in jumping karate leg
mounts nevermind old pirate quarrels
registered self-employed tax-paying
units vacated wordlessly xylophonic
yesteryear zealots.

~ Example by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest.com/Poetic Asides

Another method for alphabet poems is to go through the alphabet using the first letter of the first word for each line:

WALT’S ATTEMPT:

ETERNALLY EQUINE

Alabaster and roan, she was put down; a
broken fetlock blamed for the turn lame.
Certainly, a sad end for a once proud and
determined foal. She was a true beauty;
effervescent and ethereal.
Furlong after furlong, a strong
gait with the gallop of each
hoof striking a counterpoint to the crowd.
Indeed, now the odds were against her.
Jockeys would run her hard and fast,
keeping her on the track far
longer than she should have been.
Many years back, she was a champion, but
now in her later days, she was not.
Other trainers would have put her to
pasture, but where her legs failed, her spirit remained strong.
Question her determination, and she’d prove you wrong.
Rest would have helped her for sure, but
she knew she had one good race left in her.
Three quarters of the way around the track,
unknown to her owner, she fractured a leg.
Very few horses would have continued, but
winning her final race would reveal a true champion’s heart.
X-rays would verify the sad fact. After
years of racing, her fate was sealed. Outstanding in her field,
Zenotrope’s Zip found her rest in eternal pastures.

© Walter J. Wojtanik

Response to:
“Heaven For Horses” by Lew Sarett

Lastly, you can always flip the alphabet, too. That is, instead of going A to Z, you could write these pieces from Z to A. Give any of these a try!