Friday, September 29, 2023

Poetry Sisters Write Diminishing Verse

The challenge this month was to write in the form of diminishing verse. You can learn more about this form at Writer's Digest. You can also find helpful information at Astra PoeticaWord Wool, and YeahWrite. Wikipedia calls these Pruning Poems. Basically, the last word in each line is reduced in diminishing (pruning) fashion, by removing the initial letter of the last word in the line without any other changes to spelling. One example might be trout/rout/out. 

I'm grateful I didn't need to think about addressing the theme of transformation in my writing, because the form is transformational in itself. I really had no idea how to start this challenge, so I googled "3-letter words that start with a." I looked at that list and started adding letters to try and make longer words that shared letters. I did this for all 5 vowels (sorry y). When I found that difficult, I went to and entered 3-letter words, like art, and selected "ends with." This got me a very long list of words. From playing around with this I generated a page of word lists.

The problem with this approach was that it generated words that didn't seem to fit very well together. I also took some liberty with 3-letter words, including ack and ick. While all these sets of words rhymed, I had no idea how to make sense of them. When I began working on a poem in earnest, I tried to find a story to tell. Given that I find this form annoying and contrived, I'm pretty pleased with this little poem.

Ode to the Carolina Wren

Faithful companions a mated pair cleaves
raises brood after brood that fledges and leaves
here in the rundown farmhouse eaves

Daily I hear the male whistle and scold
his tweedle-tweedle-tweedle rings out in the cold
the song of the wren never gets old

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2023. All rights reserved.

Since I've been playing around with Canva, here's the photographic version of this poem.

You can read the pieces written by my Poetry Sisters at the links below. 

    Would you like to try the next challenge? Next month, we’re writing in the form of bouts-rimé (pronounced Boo-ReeMay). Bouts-rimés "is a method of poetry composition where the author writes down the rhyming end words of each line first, and then fills in the rest of the poem. It is sometimes approached as a game, with one participant challenged to create coherent verse from absurdly incongruent end-words." You can learn more about this form at Bouts-Rimé: A Rhyming Word Game Popular During the Georgian Era. Are you in? Good! We are continuing with our 2023 theme of TRANSFORMATION. If you’re still game, you have a month to craft your creation and share it on October 27th in a post and/or on social media with the tag #PoetryPals. We look forward to reading your poems!  

    Do take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Jama Rattigan at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Happy poetry Friday, friends!  


    1. What a delightful form, Tricia! Thank you for sharing, and Happy Friday!

    2. Wow, you did a fantastic job!! (And I love Carolina Wrens!). Thanks for sharing your process too.

    3. Oh, this is incredibly beautiful!! You were able to maintain lyricism so naturally, Tricia. Im in awe.

    4. I love what you're doing with canva, Tricia. Yay!

    5. Now this is a winner. Next time I'll extend my shorties to a second stanza. Your illustration is glorious.

    6. Tricia, thank you for the insight into your process. I love the end result. Your word choice (cleaves, leaves, eaves, fledges) is fantastic. I really like that you included a second stanza with a different series of diminishing words. Very creative!

    7. Oh, Tricia, I liked hearing your process and love how it came out, an awesome ode to that beautiful Carolina Wren. Gorgeous!

    8. Well, I'm thinking you nailed it! You managed the form AND your poem makes sense AND you worked in transformation/growth AND Carolina Wrens for the win!

    9. You wrote a fabulous poem, Tricia! I enjoyed reading about your process.

    10. Beautiful work with your Diminishing poem, Tricia and I love the photographic version too!

    11. Oh, wow, Tricia, this is one of my favorites! Your ode to the Carolina Wren is just perfect. What a super idea for finding good words for diminishing poems.