Hello everyone. I’m most honored to be your guest hostess for today and appreciate the invitation to present to you for Form-For-All…one of my favorite prompts. I’m Gayle Rose and I will be guiding you in creating another form of poetry known as the Palindrome. And if you’ve ever felt like you don’t know whether you’re coming or going, you’re at the right place… and either direction will get you where you need to go!
As I began my research for this seemingly benign and “tame” form of poetry, little did I know that it had such a risqué beginning. See if you’re as surprised as I was…
It is believed that this form was first used by Sotades, a third century B.C. Greek poet. He was considered a cynic philosopher. Apparently, he was known as one of the premier writers of obscene and pederastic, satirical poems (those written regarding the homosexual relationships between an older man and an adolescent boy) called Kinaidoi. These were composed in the Ionic dialect of Ancient Greek and in the “sotadic” meter which was so named after him. These type words and verses are also known as palindromic from the Greek words, “palin” meaning “again, or back” and “dromos” meaning “recurring, or running” which gives us “running back again.” Here is a popular example: “Llewd did I live, and evil I did dwell.” It reads the same forward and backward by letter.
Sotades also spent time in prison…before escaping but ultimately meeting his end…for insulting the reigning, Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt, for marrying his own sister, Arsinoe. I won’t quote the offending line here as it may be upsetting to some but I personally can appreciate his scurrilous humor in this instance.
This type of poetry was quite popular in the 1800s and was used as games by the too-much-time-on-their-hands wealthy. However, as times changed it was forgotten but resurfaced in the literary world during the 1930s and has since been a popular challenge for many writers.
Palindromes can be written to be read forward and backward using words, by letter or by the line. A word palindrome is created when words (rather than letters) are used, as in: “So Patient A Doctor to Doctor a Patient So.” Singular word palindrome examples: civic, level, kayak, pop, refer, radar, minim, tenet, rotor, and sexes. Some additional letter phrases are here:
A man, a plan, a canal–Panama!
Able was I ere I saw Elba.
Too bad–I hid a boot.
Do geese see God?
Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.
The following is the only letter or character poem that I came upon:
By Hubert Phillips
Pallas, I won!
(Diaper pane, sold entire.)
Melt till ever sere, hide it.
Drown a more vile note;
(Tar of rennet.)
Ah, trowel, baton, eras ago.
The reward? A “nisi.” Two nag.
Otary tastes putrid, yam was green.
Odes up and on; stare we.
Rats nod. Nap used one-erg saw.
(May dirt upset satyr?)
A toga now; ’tis in a drawer, eh?
Togas are notable.
(Worth a tenner for Ate`.)
Tone liver. O Man, word-tied I.
Little merit, Ned? Lose, Nap?
Repaid now is all apedom’s doom.
I offer a palindrome poem that I wrote as an example for the line format:
by Gayle Walters Rose
All Rights Reserved
joyful, unfettered, liberated,
forever free, and unchained,
deathless and limitless–
unbounded elation through delight.
Being peaceful brings awareness.
Awareness brings peaceful being.
Delight through elation unbounded
limitless and deathless–
unchained and free forever,
liberated, unfettered, joyful–
Line palindrome poetry uses a central focus word to delineate the beginning of reading the poem in reverse. Most commonly, the line format is used in writing poetry.
So the task at hand today: Write a palindromic poem. There is no minimum number of lines. Using the same words that you wrote forward, reverse the poem in the second half. (Yes, it should make sense both ways.) Use a “bridging” word in the middle. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section…I’ll answer them as best I can.
if you would like to embed a palindrome or two in a piece using whatever form you would like, that is fair game as well.
- Write your poem and post to your blog or webpage.
- Add a link back to dVerse Poets to share with others.
- Copy and paste your poem’s URL to Mr. Linky and add your name in the space provided
- Visit and read your fellow poets’ work
- Enjoy yourself!
Can’t wait to see what you create!