Saturday, June 14, 2008


Remember my little poem about Orson Scott Card, which form I couldn't recall?

Hey Nonny, Hi Nonny,
Weird Science-Fantasy
Hasn't the wherewith to
Buy this cannard;
Try us again next year
If we're not bankrupt, for
Remuneration, Dear
Orson Scott Card.

Well, I found it! From: The Tenth Muse.

The double-dactyl is a short verse form invented by the American poets Anthony Hecht and John Hollander in 1966. The poem consists of one sentence containing forty-four syllables that are distributed over eight lines and fall into two four-line stanzas. The first three lines of each stanza are dactylic dimeter; the last one is a choriamb. The two stanzas end with a masculine rhyme on the last syllable of the choriamb. The final feature of the form is found in line six of the poem: a single, six-syllable word which is a double-dactyl. The example illustrates the rhythm, rhyme scheme, and other salient features of my favorite form.


Dactyls in dimeter,
Verse form with choriambs
(Masculine rhyme):
One sentence (two stanzas)
Challenges poets who
Don't have the time.

One more example, from The Tenth Muse:

Pitiful Tantalus
Stole food and drink from the
Table of Zeus;
So, he was punished with
Torture of sustenance
Just beyond use.

Give it a go!


Tammy said...

You're kidding right? I need a dictionary to read the rules. lol


pepektheassassin said...

Forget about the rules. Just use your ears and listen for the pattern! Hear the music, the rhythm of it!

Jo said...

That last one cracked me up.......that's my idea of torture.

amuirin said...

Is this the one who wrote Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card?

He sure has a limber imagination.