List Poem: A Surprisingly American Poem

Author:
Publish date:

Of course, I don't mean to say that the list poem was founded in America--far from it. The list poem was used by the Greeks and in many books of the Bible. But two of the most popular American poems, Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," are list poems. So what is a list poem?

Basically, a list poem (also known as a catalog poem) is a poem that lists things, whether names, places, actions, thoughts, images, etc. It's a very flexible and fun form to work with.

For instance, I've written a list poem below to describe the experience of watching my high school football team for four years (and maybe that many wins over the entire period). Our team mascot, the Pirate, is clearly visible from I-75 if you're ever driving between Dayton and Cincinnati. We have a large set of bleachers and even this really cool wood pirate ship with a canon for when we score (sadly, underused most seasons). You would think we'd have some sort of great football team, but:

"Watching the Pirates"

We watched them lose every Friday;
first, they lost to the Beavers;
second, they fell to the Vikings;
third, they were knocked off by Elks;
fourth, the Green Wave swept over them;
fifth, the Trojans had their way;
sixth, they succumbed to Spartans;
seventh, the Skyhawks flew to victory;
eight, the Rams clobbered them;
ninth, it was the Golden Knights;
in the tenth week, they finally won,
but no one was there to see it.

*****

Check out other Poetic Forms here.

Personal Essay Awards

Announcing the First Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!

From Script

Movie Theatres Return While Indie Cinema and TV Turns to Horror and Beyond (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, read movie reviews from cinephile Tom Stemple. Plus, exclusive interviews with Amazon’s Them creator and showrunner Little Marvin, horror film Jakob’s Wife director Travis Stevens, a history lesson with Dr. Rosanne Welch about trailblazer screenwriter Anita Loos, and much more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."