Glose or Glosa: Poetic Forms - Writer's Digest

Glose or Glosa: Poetic Forms

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I'm loving these Poetic Form Fridays! This week, let's take a look at the glose or glosa

Glose or Glosa Poems

The glose or glosa is an interesting Spanish form that reminds me a bit of the golden shovel or cento. The basic premise is that you quote four lines of poetry as an epigraph from another poem or poet. These four lines act as a refrain in the final line of the four stanzas written by the poet. So the first line of the epigraph would be the final line of the first stanza, the second line ends the second stanza, etc.

The most common convention is for each of these stanzas to be ten lines in length. There are no other hard and fast rules for rhymes or syllables, though line length is usually consistent within the poem (so the epigraph kind of sets the line length).


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Here’s my attempt at a Glose or Glosa:

Scientist, by Robert Lee Brewer

“The time has come to reconsider my careen;

what good has come from bouncing away fast?
They say time is a thing that runs out,
that my buzz is nothing more than a flash.”

-Nate Pritts, “The Fastest Man Alive”

In the beginning, there was a problem waiting
to be recognized. Then, how to form
the question, how to prove the problem
exists. Each word another puzzle piece
closer to expressing what everyone feels
even if nobody is certain what it means.
After the expression, there is the problem
of considering an array of solutions before
choosing the one that seems the most pristine.
The time has come to reconsider my careen,

my slow departure from what once made sense
into this new hypothesis, this fresh
perspective. Hand clap, toe tap, and what
data will best prove my empty case. I chase
the correlation fantastic! And pray for causation
ecstatic! My proof-worthy theory is cast
into the sea of observation and experimentation
as I fight the allure of pushing conclusions
before proving the power of every blast.
What good has come from bouncing away fast?

The holes left behind throw all work into doubt,
which is why I hold out. And then it happens,
the lightning bolt and chemicals with only me
present to receive them. How do I explain
what no one else can see? How do I refute
what I feel should be accepted without doubt?
Is someone ready to observe my future?
My past? I won’t fade quietly into the night,
I won’t race from school like some dumb trout.
They say time is a thing that runs out,

but what happens when one can travel here
and there? My heart, a drum machine, beats
past infinite Earths. I give birth to a new
type of method, one hidden in the covers
of a silver age. My hypothesis, a twist
on yet another death, some spectacular crash!
I will save the planet and the universe,
if it comes to that, but don’t stand there
and try to explain that all science is trash,
that my buzz is nothing more than a flash.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). While he usually writes his example poems when creating these posts, this glosa was originally written as part of the 2012 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.