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Triversen: Poetic Form

The triversen is a loose form of sentence-long tercets developed by William Carlos Williams (or "The Red Wheelbarrow" and Paterson fame). Here are the rules and examples.

I found references to the triversen this week in both online and print resources. It's a fun poetic form developed by William Carlos Williams (one of my favorite poets--able to write both the concise, "The Red Wheelbarrow," and the epic, Paterson). I like this form because of its flexibility.

Here are the triversen rules:

  • Each stanza equals one sentence.
  • Each sentence/stanza breaks into 3 lines (each line is a separate phrase in the sentence).
  • There is a variable foot of 2-4 beats per line.
  • The poem as a whole should add up to 18 lines (or 6 stanzas).

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The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

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Here's my attempt at a triversen:

"today we buried mom"

today we buried mom
& 1,000 red-winged blackbirds
found a branch in our backyard.

the shadow of a deer
was spotted on a snowdrift,
wind sneaking into our house.

everyone knows everyone
dies & then we're faced
with how to handle the body.

in her favorite dress
we buried mom with some lilies
& a john wayne poster.

i've been trying to forget
the last time we talked
but here i am alone with you.

1,000 blackbirds hold the trees
before loosening their grip
to disappear in the sun.

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