Saturday, 18 August 2012

The Septolet

00:00:00 Posted by Ashley Lister , , 5 comments

 By Ashley Lister

 I’ll keep my linguistic straitjacket short here. Rhyme is too strongly associated with childish verses - and consequently loses much of its literary gravitas. Syllable based poetry becomes complicated by the inconvenience of morae, diphthongs and triphthongs (as well as the vagaries of pronunciation). And so, I’ve gone for something short and sweet with my contribution to this week’s excursion into poetic forms. I’ve elected to tackle the septolet.

Nobody on the
contact your provider.

BlackBerries and
nothing, nothing
but BlackBerries.

The septolet has fourteen words. It is broken between two stanzas that make up the fourteen words. Each stanza can have seven words but that is not an essential requirement. The division can take place where the poet decides. 

The Library
words with
one finger.

Feeling lines;
smelling pages;
savouring books;
seeing, hearing: reading.

Both stanzas of the septolet deal with the same thought. Ultimately they create a picture. Please take a shot at contributing a septolet to the comments box below.


Louise Barklam said...


One step,
Then another.
Forward, ever onward
We march.

Never reaching
Our Final Destination.

Ashley R Lister said...


Thanks for that! It's a pretty cool form, isn't it?


Louise Barklam said...

Yes, I quite enjoyed it. It had me scratching my head for a while though. Lol. I have also written one with a fixed amount of syllables on each line. It takes a while to figure out, but hey-ho. Still prefer to write it my own way though, even he it doesn't conform to the "rules". ;-) x

Jim Murdoch said...

I don’t normally play these games but I thought I’d have a crack. I’m not a big one for classic forms—I’ve never written a sestina or a sonnet in my life and only one haiku out of almost 1100 poems—and so I’ve made up my own rule for this poem. I’ve kept the basic premise of two complementary stanzas each containing seven syllables but since the poem is about reflections I’ve made the shape a palindrome : 1-3-2-1 // 1-2-3-1.


      look at her
      and see

      smiles back
      and I feel

I structure all my poems. Few poets these days do; free verse has become It’s-a-poem-because-I-say-it-is and that rather saddens me. Working within a predetermined structure is good. I forced you to stretch yourself. Free verse, as I was just saying on another blog, can be too free. If you can use any word why tax your imagination to think of a better one than one that’ll do the job?

Ashley R Lister said...


Stylish appropriation of the form. And a good poem too.

I saw your comments on the other page. I thought your analogy, comparing the programming of a 48K Spectrum against the programming of modern day Gb-hungry programs, was one of the most prudent comparisons I've seen in a long time.

Thanks for contributing :-)