Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Poetry Stretch - The Bop

Forgive me for being a day late. I leave for a conference on Wednesday and I'm a bit at loose ends right now. 

The bop is a form invented by poet Afaa Michael Weaver.  Here are the requirements.
  • 3 stanzas, each followed by a repeated line or refrain
  • 1st stanza is 6 lines and states a problem
  • 2nd stanza is 8 lines and expands on the problem
  • 3rd stanza is 6 lines and resolves the problem (If a resolution cannot be found, the final stanza describes the failure to do so.)
You can read more about this form at poets.org and Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a bop. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Once I Could Recite: A Memory Bop

    Once I could recite the names
    Of all the kids in my fifth grade class,
    By gender and by alphabetically
    By their first names.
    I could name all the girls in junior high
    By last names, so I was last.

    My memory has lost its way.

    Once I could tell you my old telephone number,
    My seventh grade best friend’s number,
    The poems I wrote in grade school,
    All the planets, Latin declensions,
    The words in Spanish for more than boy, girl, love.
    Now names are gone, first and last,
    Nouns are starting to fade away.
    If verbs go, I will have nothing left for this poem.

    My memory has lost its way.

    The doctors shrug, blame age, mean
    I can’t dye my memory the way I darken
    My white hair, a monthly inconvenience no worse
    Than menses which no longer troubles me.
    We give up, take back, haggle, bargain,
    But what can I trade for this? I forget?

    My memory has lost its way.

    ©2015 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

  2. The Wrong Thing

    Didn’t mean to do it.
    Just opened my mouth.
    But I saw by her look
    that the words were not
    what they should have been.
    I did it again.

    I said the wrong thing.

    What is the right thing?
    Some people know.
    They speak and everyone
    smiles at them. Every time.
    They speak words
    like bells, and everyone smiles.

    I said the wrong thing.

    Voices and words
    can be measured in miles.
    Hundreds and thousands,
    year after year. All that
    practice. You would think
    it would be enough. But

    I said the wrong thing.

    —Kate Coombs, 2015
    all rights reserved