Back to verse forms index Home

New Verse, Old Web

Verse forms I've created

(NOTE: "Rime" is not used out of ignorance. I prefer that spelling to "rhyme," which is easily mistaken for "rhythm.")

The Absinthe


A visual poem: a circle subdivided as in the example, one word per division. The poem is read from the center out. (In the example, the first three words are "I & you.")


Relationship: Phase 3. \ I & you are beginning to fear us now
Carl Bettis

The Crap stanza



The Bourgeois Saint
The bourgeois saint is always at his prayers.
His calloused knees wear holes in marble stairs.
Quiz not his earnest piety,
You must admit his impropriety.
Carl Bettis

The Glitch


The glitch poem has no hard and fast rules, and maybe it's more a genre than a form. Write a poem, then glitch it up with typos, disorderings, repetitions, static, etc. (I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with this.)


Just Once I'd Like
Just once I'd like to answer the phone
and have it be a cloud on the other end
a single loud in a blue mid-mooning sky
lonely maybe and he noticed
and may. noticed
a single cloud in in my clear mind.
Cloud I put her on please?
Just now I'd once like to have
a headful of lighning
handsfree headset so
lightning so
I don't get that call,
I just don't get it.
Maybe a cat instead.
Carl Bettis

The Grackle


Named after the first poem written in the form (by one of my alter egos). A word-count prosody that owes an obvious debt to the form of William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow."


The Common Grackle
the common grackle
I do not

the dying maple
exceed my depth

my dumb bones
reveal my ignorance

my hidden mind
find me helpless

within all these
do I reside?
Bryant Jacobi

The Pi Pan


I invented the pi pan to celebrate Pi Day, 3/14. This is a word-count prosody, in 3 stanzas:


Their Work of Light Done
rain-pressed black-
flake layers of


sink into their dissolving
self beds, will not
with March-crazy winds
be stirred to dance.
Carl Bettis

The Quale


Basically four words per line. The poem can be any length. The following liberties are allowed: Two examples from one of my alter egos follow.


of some account
i found, in front
of the once elegant
building now settling delicately
into delapidation that housed
the bank where i
had just closed an old
account, tangled in unkempt
grass, a fortune — right
next to where someone
had dropped a filthy
twenty, a wild strawberry!
sylvester hobson
i want to go
i want to go
far away from everywhere
to a place that's
only here. with owl
& snakes for neighbors?

no, not even those,
or yes, owls & snakes,
& bars & night clubs,
a car wash maybe,
perhaps a gun range,
an interstate just beyond
my front yard, next
to a firehouse, down
the block the ER,
& all around dogs,
who howl at nothing
& bark at everything.
all that, as long
as it's quiet, as
long as i can hear
what the silence says,
and i'm not there.
sylvester hobson

The Ronga


Having invented the unku as a parody of the haiku, and the thunka as a parody of the tanka, I went on to create the ronga as a parody of the Japanese renga (not to be confused with the American form of the same name). I don't know why I'm picking on Japan, but in my family, you only mock the ones you love. The example below is by myself and all of my currently active heteronyms.


Searching the alleyways of dreams,
I found you. Waking to new light,
whose stranger am I now?
— md

— bc

When I hear one of those
old hillbilly hymns, for a moment
wrath lives in the sky.
— ie

When the plague came
I mishappened
to live
to learn
to love
— tg

Once I gave up drinking for a month. Was still an asshole, but didn't enjoy it much.
— sg

Our house-wolves dream slaughter of foxes, hares.
A fat toad escapes them both.
— cb

Hello, handsome Mr. Butterfly! You
won't remember me, but I knew you
when you spoiled my parsley.
— romr

The place I want to go
won't exist until I'm where
it's always been.
— bj

a couple of desires, coupling.
a knot of desires, twisting, combining, fighting.
neither desire nor no desire.
— sh

by Mort Duffy, Basil Cartryte, Ian Erinson, Thomas Gorn, Sturgis Giteau, Carl Bettis, Roynald O'MacRossinski, Bryant Jacobi and sylvester hobson

The Skance



Late March
Where's the wind going in such a rush?
Who waits in suspense for it to arrive?
Children race from the pier to Dad's car.
Fish on a stringer shimmer and gasp.
Carl Bettis

The Thunka


Thunka because it has five lines like the tanka, and I thunka it. A word-count prosody,.


thunka journal 2022-06-27
the dog poops
in thick grass suddenly
from nowhere flies appear
Carl Bettis
thunka journal 2022-07-11: centenary no
i might have
forty years of aging
i'd swap for five
Carl Bettis

The Unku


In or around 2014, I created a poetic form I called the "unku," sort of an anti-haiku. Of course, I couldn't reverse everything about the haiku and have the result be anything meaningful. I made the following flips and changes.


An Outrage
While you're gnawed with waiting
for news from the doctor, the rest
of life gabbles and giggles.
Carl Bettis
You're no mental traveller, man,
if you keep hopping the same freights
and know all the cops.
Carl Bettis