Poem Spark Apr. 30-May 14 – the Sevenling

Greetings and Salutations fellow poets!

After spending the month of April writing a poem each day in celebration of National Poetry Month, I discovered how difficult it was to create something original with such demanding time constraints. Across the internet, various poets used different strategies for sparking the poetic muse. One such spark is a form of poem called the Sevenling.

Here’s a small explanation of the sevenling by the form’s creator, Roddy Lumsden, courtesy of The American Poetry Journal:

Lumsden wrote:
The rules of the sevenling are thus:

The first three lines should contain an element of three – three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. This can take up all of the three lines or be contained anywhere within them. Then, lines four to six should similarly contain an element of three, connected directly or indirectly or not at all. The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or as an unusual juxtaposition. There are no set metrical rules, but being such as short form, some rhythm, metre or rhyme is desirable. To give the form a recognisable shape, it should be set out in two stanzas of three lines, with a solitary seventh, last line. Titles are not required. A sevenling should be titled Sevenling followed by the first few words in parentheses The tone of the sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing, giving a feeling that only part of the story is being told. The poem should have a certain ambience which invites guesswork from the reader.

The form is based on a much-translated poem by Anna Akhmatova:

American Poetry Journal excerpt of “He loved. . .”, translated by D.M. Thomas

The Harvard Advocate excerpt of “He loved. . .”, translated by Judith Hemschemeyer

Here are some other excellent sevenlings:

Yolanda Calderon-Horn 4 Sevenlings

Diane Thiel Sevenlings for Akhmatova

Your poetry spark for the next two weeks is: write a sevenling. Be creative and have fun!

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