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Forms Unique to Vole Central, Bob Newman's Poetry By Way


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Invented Forms

Vole Central is the web site of UK educator and poet, Bob Newman where knowledge, skilled writing and humor are the perfect balance to deliver inspiration and a "how to" to countless students of poetry such as myself. Certainly Newman covers the basics of verse but he also has some unique and challenging forms which are exclusively on his web site. Some of the more intriguing are now also on this page.

  • The Balanced Sonnet is noted as not a sonnet because it doesn't use the octave-sestet sonnet pattern but then technically neither does the Shakespearean sonnet. So as long as the poem sings in 14 lines with a pivot or turn somewhere within, I think one could call it a sonnet. This form was created by Barbara Dilworth.  The elements of the Balanced Sonnet are:
    1. a quatorzain, made up of 2 California Rhyme Stanzas..
    2. metered, iambic pentameter.
    3. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababcbc dedefdf.
    4. no placement of pivot prescribed.
  • The Bina is an invented verse form created by Bob Newman at the Poetry By Way and found on the internet at his site and at Poetry Base . The Bina is a shortened variation of the Sestina.  The elements of the Bina are:
    1. a pentastich. A poem in 5 lines.
    2. metered, predominantly iambic pentameter(or close). Lines are equal length.
    3. composed with end words limited to 2 words that are repeated in numerical sequence and one of the words appears internally in L5. Words 1-2-2-1-2 with word 1 appearing midway in L5

      L1 ends with word #1
      L2 ends with word #2
      L3 ends with word #2
      L4 ends with word #1
      L5 midway word #1, ends with word #2.

      Here is an example of a poem written using the Bina frame and following two thematic poetic genres, Aubaude and Serenade.

      "Ades" Stiilis Bina(2 love poems for Joe D.)
      by DC Martinson


      Cleaving half the horizon, the morning
      sun cuts across the eyelid of the earth,
      and in a forever-moment the earth
      is outside of now: not dawn, not morning.
      Yet I'd crave You, my morning; You, my earth.


      Shuttering up the horizon, the night
      throes – heavy blanket on the face of earth,
      regardless of the weather on the earth.
      Yet shroud me with Your fibrous self this night
      and I'd succumb: You, my night; You, my earth.

  • The California Rhymed Stanza is a septet used in the Balanced Sonnet but could be used as a stand alone poem or be written in any number of stanzas. It was created by Barbara Dilworth and introduced at Vol Central. The elements of the California Rhymed Stanza are:

    1. stanzaic, written in any number of septets, 7 line stanzas.
    2. metered or not at the discretion of the poet. (When used in a sonnet, in deference to the sonnet form, iambic pentameter would be my choice.)
    3. rhymed, scheme ababcbc.
  • Decrina is a longer version of the Sestina attributed to Bob Neuman but I couldn't find it at his website Poetry By Way. I did find it at Poetry Base however. Having written a Sestina, I can't imagine why anyone would even consider attempting a longer version of the form.  The elements of the Decrina are:
    1. stanzaic, ten 10 line stanzas with a 5 line envoy, a total of 105 lines.
    2. metered, lines of equal length, like the Sestina, iambic pentameter or iambic tetrameter.
    3. repeated end words in a specific pattern. (Numbers represent words)


      I can only assume the envoy is like the Sestina with even #ed words midline and odd #ed words as end words. 0-9,8-7,6-5,4-3,2-1

  • Domino Rhyme is a very clever innovation of Bob Newman which can be found at his site as well as many others on the internet. Much like a slinky, rhymes tumble from stanza to stanza, it is something he calls "remote rhyming".  The elements of the Domino Rhyme are:
    1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
    2. metered, written in a loose tetrameter. Lines should be same length.
    3. rhymed. L2 and L3 of the first stanza rhyme with L1 and L4 of the next stanza and so on down until the last stanza when L2 and L3 rhyme with L1 and L4 of the first stanza. abcd befc eghf gijh ... iadj.

      The Fifty Dollar Tomato by Judi Van Gorder
  • The puSlogh vagh is a little something for the Star Trek fan. This stanzaic form, according to Bob Newman is a Klingon form. Apparently the Klingon language has only 5 vowel sounds. To preserve the Klingon spirit of the verse one should only use the short vowel sounds of a e i o u as in bag-beg-big-bog and bug, no long vowel sounds such as May, me, my, moan, mule. . It is important to go by sound not spelling. You really should read Newman's description of the form for which I provide this link, Vol Central. I add no new insight, I am just passing on what I read there. The elements of the puSlogh vagh are:
    1. stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains. However until you speak Klingon fluently I recommend you stick with just one cinquain.
    2. isosyllabic, same number of syllables per line. The number of syllables is determined by the first line, it can be as few as 4 and as many as 10.
    3.  composed using only short or soft vowel sounds as in fan, bend, it, opt, fun, mystic.  No hard or long vowel sound as in ate, beet, lie, oak, June, my.
    4. composed with at least 2 "strongholds" within each line. The strong hold position is determined by the poet and established in the first line. A stronghold is specific syllabic positions for a repeated sound. In this case assonant rhyme. In other words, the vowel sound could be in the 3rd syllable of each line and 6th syllable of each line, or the 1st, 4th syllable and 6th syllable of each line. It could even be the 1st and 4th syllables with no end rhyme. etc..
    5. written with a different key vowel in each line, the order of which is at the discretion of the poet. The vowel sound can be repeated once, twice or even more depending on the length of the line and inventiveness of the poet, but it must be repeated at least once in the strong hold position in each line.

      Here is an example, not great poetry but I'm just learning Klingon, so please forgive me. The strong hold is in the 3rd and 6th position of each line.

      The Hat and the Cat by Judi Van Gorder

      The cat smacked the straw hat
      when it saw the brown dog
      jump  a net, a fun fetch
      that is won with some fun
      not a sin, just a win.

  • The Scupham Sonnet is noted at Vol Central as not a "proper" sonnet, probably because of the lack of prescribed pivot. It was created by British poet Peter Scupham and uses the Scupham Stanza.  The elements of the Scupham Sonnet are:
    1. a quatorzain made up of 2 Schupham stanzas (sixains) followed by a rhymed couplet.
    2. metered, iambic pentameter.
    3. rhymed, scheme abccba deffed gg.
    4. no prescribed place for a pivot but most good poetry naturally has a pivot or turn someplace within the poem.
  • The Scupham Stanza is a sixain used in the Scupham Sonnet but which could be stand-alone poem or written in any number. It was created by British poet, Peter Scupham and is found at Vol Central. The elements of the Scupham stanza are:
    1. stanzaic, written in any number of sixains.
    2. metered or not at the discretion of the poet. (When using it in a sonnet, in deference to the form, iambic pentameter would be my choice.)
    3. rhymed, scheme abccba.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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