Form III

There are certainly many forms which are not restrictive in length necessarily and focus more other techniques for writing. They may either be abbreviated or perhaps written with brevity in mind. Here I would like to cover the more abstract techniques which often come under the category of what is called serial poetry. Most of these are written entirely in free verse, with no rhyme or meter. However I suppose adding those aspects can pose a further challenge and more interesting variations.


This form has many variations, but basically the first letter of the first word should begin with “a” and then the next word should begin with “b” and then it should follow the course of the alphabet.  It could be altered, so that the restraint is only placed on the first words of every line. Or perhaps more creatively, would be for the last words on each line. It can follow through the entire alphabet, or do parts or stop before the end.


In an acrostic poem, the first letters of the lines can be read down to form a word or message. This can also be the last letters of the line for a variation.  A compound acrostic is for two messages. While also a double acrostic contains the same message with the first letters as with the last letters.


In this poetry form, the poem itself can be read backwards or forwards and will be exactly the same. Whether or not differences in punctuation are permitted is up to the poet, but usually permitted.

OULIPO Technique

This genre of poetry was founded in 1960 and is French in origin. It seeks to expand the mind of poet and reader by using rather nontraditional techniques for writing. It is often abstract and focuses on sets of constraints. The following italicized forms are generally attributed to this group.

N+7 and V+7

In this form, a poem is taken from another poet, often a famous published one. In the first, all the nouns are removed and replaced with the nouns which appear seven entries later in the dictionary. This can be done with other types of words like verbs and adjectives. It should be considered when counting to avoid a another form of the original word. Both this and the particular dictionary used can make for great variations. I assume the whether the variations of words are counted and then skipped at the end until a suitable non derivative is found, or never counted at all, is up to the poet.

I also assume that the words counted are of the same lexical class as the original word, however varying on that could also produce interesting results. Regardless, the spirit of the form is important and its impact on the imagination more than the limits of the constraint.

Prisoner’s constraint

A type of lipogram that omits letters with ascenders and descenders (b, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, p, q, t, and y). It is also called Macao restraint.


A poem in which each line is a single word, and each successive word is one letter longer.


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