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Invented Forms Patterned After Works of American Poets

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Explore the Craft of Writing
American Verse
Invented Forms

The Bryant describes observations of nature as metaphor for the social and political world around us. This stanzaic projacked form is patterned after To A Water Foul by American poet, William Cullen Bryant 1794- 1878. It was found in Viola Berg's Pathways for the Poet 1977. The elements of the Bryant are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any # of quatrains
  2. metered, L1,L4 trimeter and L2,L3 are pentameter. Short lines are indented.
  3. rhymed, alternating rhymed quatrains, abab cdcd etc
  4. a pastoral metaphor

    A Water Foul by William Cullen Bryant                                 

    Whither, 'midst falling dew, 
    While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
    Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
    Thy solitary way?
    Vainly the fowler's eye
    Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
    As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
    Thy figure floats along.

    Seek'st thou the plashy brink
    Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
    Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
    On the chafed ocean side?

    There is a Power whose care
    Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,--
    The desert and illimitable air,--
    Lone wandering, but not lost.

    All day thy wings have fanned
    At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere:
    Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
    Though the dark night is near.

    And soon that toil shall end,
    Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
    And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend
    Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.

    Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
    Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
    Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
    And shall not soon depart.

    He, who, from zone to zone,
    Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
    In the long way that I must tread alone,
    Will lead my steps aright.

    Nursery by Judi Van Gorder

    The hornet builds its nest
    with honeycomb precision, spit in turn
    is woven into cells, a silken breast
    to suckle, birth discerned.





















The Taylor is a projacked form also found in Berg's Pathways For the Poet, patterned from Upon a Spider Catching a Fly by Edward Taylor (1642-1729) who some call the finest colonial poet although his work was not published until 1939. A puritan poet, his poems are lyrical and yet reflect a staunch Calvanist tone.  The elements of the Taylor are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains.
  2. metric, iambic, L1 trimeter, L2 and L4 dimeter, L3 tetrameter, L5 monometer.
  3. rhymed or at least near rhymed ababb cdcdd efeff etc.

    Upon a Spider Catching a Fly by Edward Taylor

    Thou sorrow, venom elf.
    Is this thy play,
    To spin a web out of thyself
    To catch a fly?
    For why?

    I saw a pettish wasp
    Fall foul therein,
    Whom yet thy whorl pins did not clasp
    Lest he should fling
    His sting.

    But as afraid, remote
    Didst stand here at
    And with thy little fingers stroke
    And gently tap
    His back.

    Thus gently him didst treat
    Lest he should pet,
    And in a froppish waspish heat
    Should greatly fret
    Thy net.

    Whereas the silly fly,
    Caught by its leg,
    Thou by the throat took'st hastily
    And 'hind the head
    Bite dead.

    This goes to pot, that not
    Nature doth call.
    Strive not above what strength hath got
    Lest in the brawl
    Thou fall.

    This fray seems thus to us:
    Hell's spider gets
    His entrails spun to whipcords' thus,
    And wove to nets
    And sets,

    To tangle Adam's race
    In's stratagems
    To their destructions, spoiled, made base
    By venom things,
    Damned sins.

    But mighty, gracious Lord,
    Thy grace to break the cord; afford
    Us glory's gate
    And state.

    We'll Nightingale sing like,
    When perched on high
    In glory's cage, Thy glory, bright,
    And thankfully,
    For joy.

Word Sonnet was introduced in 1985 by New Formalist poet Brad Leithauser. It is basically an English Sonnet with the exception of changing the iambic pentameter lines to a single word. The elements of the Word Sonnet are:

  1. a quatorzain made up of 3 quatrains followed by a couplet.
  2. unmetered. Each line is made up of one word.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme, abba cddc effe gg.
  4. pivot or volta sometime on or after L9.

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