Poetry Exercise: Anagrammatic Poetry

Updated on March 23, 2020
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Veronica has poetry and short stories published in several literary journals. She holds an MA in Literature from American University.

"Bananagrams" by Selena N. B. H.
"Bananagrams" by Selena N. B. H. | Source

It's no secret that writing poetry can be challenging. Successful poets put a lot of thought, time, and effort behind their seemingly effortless poems.

But don't let that scare or frustrate you. Anyone can write poetry! And writing poetry is actually a lot of fun. Whether you're a seasoned poet, or someone just getting their feet wet, practicing different forms of poetry and experiencing different ways to create poems make writing a fun journey of discovery.

The following exercise is part of a series of prompts. These prompts are made to help get your creative juices flowing and push you out of your comfort zone.

Poetry Exercise: Write an Anagrammatic Poem

If you've ever played with anagram puzzles, then you're going to have fun with this poetry form.

For those of you who are new to anagrams, an anagram is "a word or phrase made by transposing the letters of another word or phrase" (Merriam-Webster). For example, "drop" is an anagram of "prod." In anagrammatic poetry, all the words used in the poem are anagrams.

There are a variety of creative ways poets have used anagrams in poetry, but for the sake of this exercise, we're going to take a simple approach. Your challenge is to create a poem using only the letters in your title. Limit yourself by making your title only one or two words.

If you're not sure how to get started, you may be inspired by something around you or use the first word that pops into your mind. It helps to choose a word that is on the longer side or to combine two words to give yourself a manageable set of letters to work with. Words containing the letter "i" or the letter "a" will also help considerably when constructing your poem.

Now that you have your word/s, write your title on a piece of paper. Make a list of as many words you can find using only those letters. Group them according to word-length (1 letter, 2 letters, ..., 8 letters, etc.), or according to parts of speech (i.e., nouns, adjectives, verbs). Once you have your list of words in front of you, it becomes much easier to form a coherent poem.

Let the words you discover inspire you!

Streaming: An Anagrammatic Poem

Here is my attempt at an anagrammatic poem.

by Veronica McDonald

I am mean meat-
I am a mister
A sir
An era
Mastering a mast set in steaming mist
Eating gas germs.
I aim East
Taming a mega star.
Neat, trim
Staring at gears
Great men sin at sea
Gin in tea
Tearing names in grams
Mating in air
Searing in rages.
I am a mister
A sir
An era
Great art set in meat.

Post Your Poem

If you followed this exercise to create an anagrammatic poem, post your poem or an excerpt in the comments. I would love to see what you come up with!

© 2020 Veronica McDonald


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