History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

Poetry Form: Waltmarie

One of the things I love about poetry is that new forms can be concocted from just about any idea. I’ve written several poems based on “unofficial” forms that I’ve found online, but many more based on “official” forms. What makes a form “official” vs. “unofficial”? Not much, honestly. But if I can find it on the Writer’s Digest list of poetic forms, it feels a little more “official” to me.

Even there, my latest form is called a “nonce” form, which means it was created for a one-time use. But since I’ve now used it, and since other poets have as well, is it still a nonce?

The latest form I tried out was one called the Waltmarie, developed by poet Candace Kubinec and named after two other poets. It’s a simple form: 10 lines, with the even numbered lines having only two syllables, and forming a poem of their own within the larger poem. The odd lines have no such restrictions.

Because I’m often looking at forms with a mind to using them myself, I often figure out little tricks to making a poem work for me. In this case, I wrote the even lines first, making the tiny internal poem, and then added the odd lines to fit into that structure. It was a fairly quick process for me once I’ve got that internal poem, so I share this “hack” in case it helps someone else figure out the Waltmarie! (This second link has several lovely examples of Waltmaries!)

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