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New Poetic Form: The Roundabout

Categories: Poetic Forms, Poetry Craft Tips, Poetry Prompts, Poets, Poets Helping Poets.

Our Poetic Asides inaugural Poet Laureate, Sara Diane Doyle, has been busy-busy-busy this summer working with teen writers. But not too busy to share with her fellow Poetic Asides crew a new poetic form she developed with one of her students, David Edwards. Since Sara knows the form best, I’ll let her explain the form to you in her own words.

*****

A few months ago I began exploring various poetic forms. With each form I tried, I would post my attempt on a forum for teen writers, where I am a mentor. One of the teens, David Edwards, got interested in forms, especially the “created” forms. He asked if anyone could invent a form and I said “sure!” Then, he got the crazy idea that we should create a form together.

 

To start, we wanted to throw in every poetic element that we really liked. David came up with the meter and feet and I added in the repeating line. We came up with the rhyme scheme and length together. The result is a form we call the Roundabout. In this form, the rhyme scheme comes full circle while offering repetition of one line in each rhyme set. 

 

The Roundabout is a four stanza poem, with each stanza consisting of 5 lines. The poem is written in iambic and the lines have 4 feet, 3 feet, 2 feet, 2 feet and 3 feet respectively. The rhyme scheme is abccb/bcddc/cdaad/dabba. Roundabouts can be on any subject. 

 

Several of the writers on our forum have written Roundabouts and have had a blast.” We would love for other poets to give it a try! Here are some examples to get you started.

 

Crash

by David Edwards

 

Around around the carousel

across the circles face

we cry we shout

we crash about

across the circles face

 

and ever always breakneck pace

by this unending route

and twists and turns

and breaks and burns

by this unending route

 

of ever always in and out

the yearling quickly learns

to run and yell

at ocean’s swell

the yearling quickly learns

 

to run and leap and then he earns

but he will never tell

there’s not a chase

that wins the race

but he will never tell.

 

 

 

When Spring Trips ‘Round

by Sara Diane Doyle

 

When wildflowers bloom once more

and raindrops touch the earth,

the faeries come

to start the hum

and raindrops touch the earth!

 

Come join the song, the dance the mirth!

Enjoy the juicy plum.

beneath the sun

’til day is done-

enjoy the juicy plum!

 

The clouds let out the beating drum-

rejoice with us as one.

Our joy we pour

for pain we bore-

rejoice with us as one.

 

Of gleeful hope, the snow knows none,

but speaks of faeries lore,

of magic birth,

the greatest worth

but speaks of faeries lore.

 

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

16 Responses to New Poetic Form: The Roundabout

  1. Don Swearingen says:

    Looks like a variation of a repeating limerick to me. But what do I know?

  2. Joy Leftow says:

    This is fascinating! All this stuff compiled in one place is phenomenal. I hope and pray some writer will find my page the same way.

    http://writer.joyleftow.com

  3. A FALL FROM GRACE
    (A Roundabout)

    She wrote it down, a final note
    with shaky hand that freed
    the sins inside
    she tried to hide,
    those scribbled hurtful deeds.

    What stood on top the list was greed
    for which she often lied
    and risked disgrace,
    a fall from grace.
    She took it all in stride.

    For years she chose to let things slide,
    maintained a happy face
    and seemed to gloat
    that she could coat
    her crimes and leave no trace.

    Before the law could solve their case
    and swear her under oath
    so she could plead,
    she found the need
    to write, then slit her throat.

    #

  4. Actually- my worship pastor at church loved the meter–it reminded him of old Shaker hymns. He is working on creating a few melodies for this form and I’m attempting to write some lyrics–but writing singable lyrics is WAY harder than poetry!

    That is awesome–David and I are really tickled by that. Thanks, Vince, for pointing it out!

  5. Actually- my worship pastor at church loved the meter–it reminded him of old Shaker hymns. He is working on creating a few melodies for this form and I’m attempting to write some lyrics–but writing singable lyrics is WAY harder than poetry!

    That is awesome–David and I are really tickled by that. Thanks, Vince, for pointing it out!

  6. Earl Parsons says:

    Amazing Grace! What an awesome way to test your roundabout! I knew there was some underlying factor that made this style appealing. Way to notice, Vince.

  7. Vince Gotera says:

    How cool to develop your own form with students. What a great teaching idea.

    Did you notice that your new form is kind of a mix of the limerick and the hymnal stanza (or the ballad stanza, too)? You could sing Roundabouts to the tune of "Amazing Grace" or the theme song to "Gilligan’s Island." Fun.

    Keep up the great work! Invent more forms…

  8. I’m glad you all are enjoying (and trying!) the Roundabout. We’ve had a blast with it on the forum where I mentor teen writers. David and I are currently working on a new form that doesn’t rhyme but still uses some fun meter. And this fall, our teens will have a 12 week poetry challenge.

    Thanks for the comments and encouragement!

  9. Tonya Root says:

    Ah, what a fantastic idea! I love it! I will definitely have to give this one a try!

  10. Wow, what a great idea, creating your own form. I’m happy to see that poetic forms have not died out. I may try this later on.

  11. Earl Parsons says:

    I love a good challenge, and a chance to express my feelings on America and God. Here’s one for the USA. I’ll try and work on another for the Lord. Hope you like it and thanks, Sara and David.

    And a belated happy birthday to Robert. Only 30 and begging for poems to commemorate it. Way to go.

    Will Freedom Live?

    America so long ago
    A place so great to live
    The USA
    Should be today
    A place so great to live

    But we’ve forgotten how to give
    We wait for undue pay
    Our hands are out
    We scream and shout
    We wait for undue pay

    We cannot see the coming day
    When freedom’s light burns out
    When will it show?
    What we don’t know
    When freedom’s light burns out

    The warning signs are clearly out
    Now which way will we go?
    Will God forgive?
    Will freedom live?
    Now which way will we go?

  12. Connie says:

    Sara, this is a fun form and I’ll try it with my homeschool class in the fall. It took a little while though, I have to get back to work!

    The Swimmin’ Hole

    In hot July days, yesteryear
    In ice-cold Shannon crik
    We’d play and shout
    And splash about
    In ice-cold Shannon crik

    A hole with banks so steep and slick
    We’d share with frogs and trout
    It was the way
    We’d spend the day
    We’d share with frogs and trout

    We’d beat the heat, without a doubt
    We’d work so hard at play
    Crawdads and deer
    Were always near
    We’d work so hard at play

    We kids kept cool this country way
    In water cold and clear
    We’d get our kicks
    With childish tricks
    In water cold and clear

  13. Paige says:

    How neat. I’m gonna give it try when I get the change, which better be soon…
    real soon.

  14. Barbara S says:

    Nice work. Always great to try out new things, and I like that this came about from working with younger poets!

  15. Terri says:

    Bed Sheets

    Drying sheets upon the line
    they flap like flags unfurled
    billowing high
    into the sky
    they flap like flags unfurled

    Sun bleached by sun where they are hung
    as brilliant as a cloud
    I shield my eyes
    as they blow high
    as brilliant as a cloud

    My mother takes the pins from them
    a heap in wicket basket
    in the screen door
    placed on the floor
    a heap in wicker basket

    Pulled taut upon my bed mattress
    and smelling of north winds
    dreaming of clouds
    and snow white shrouds
    and smelling of north winds

  16. Linda H. says:

    Pretty cool form, Sara. Might I also add that When Spring Trips Round is wonderful. I’ll have to give this a try over the weekend when I have time to write.

    Linda H.

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