Category Archives: Slimverse

Collection of 12 syllable, four line poems, each line is three syllables

Vancouver Jazz Festival (Re-Mix) – a poem, a discussion, a bonus poem.

Vancouver Jazz Festival (Re-Mix)

 a humid

lion house

hogo hangs

on the air

 

dogs and trees

dogs and trees

free jazz, jazz

for free, the

 

bass player

leans like a

drunk around

a lamp post.

 

Well, 3 posts into April – Month of Slim and I’m wondering will this 12 syllable madness ever end? I asked Slim if he found this verse form, this 3 syllable line too confining. Did he not want to escape its shackles and roam free, go for 5, 6 syllables or even stretch a line across the width of the page. “Au contraire”, he said. He actually said that, “au contraire”, and I thought that’s a bit effete, a bit foppish for a bald guy with gravity issues.

“Au contraire, in fact I find it liberating to escape the tyranny of free verse, the endless decisions – upper case, lower case, line length, is it really a poem or is it just chopped up prose, if I am writing a poem about a flower, should the poem be in the shape of a flower, should I rhyme or not rhyme, what is doggerel anyway? – this is like fundamentalism, the boundaries are clearly defined, this far and no further, the Lord gave you 12 syllables, make the best of it!”

Well, that answer was a bit more than I needed or wanted, if I owned a watch I would have been looking at it.

“Got to go, Slim” I said.

“Hang on” he said, “talking of religion, I saw that movie ‘Spotlight’, here’s my review.

 

Spotlight (slim review)

 Catholic

priests find the

immoral

higher ground.

12 Syllables that Shook the World

Well, after a brief diversion into haikuland, April – Month of Slim returns with the first sighting of slimverse outside of North America (well, actually, outside of this blog) and it comes from Stiofan O’Broin   (over in Ireland/ Italy ?) who shows a complete mastery of the form in his first attempt! Here it is:

Slimverse

a slimverse

is an odd

metrical

exercise.

On closer examination, this is actually a poem in which the poem is the subject of the poem itself, a kind of poetic selfie. It’s like writing a sonnet about a sonnet, or a haiku about a haiku. For example:

Haiku 

haiku: seventeen

ineffable syllables

five, seven and five.

 

I think we’ll call it a“ Narcissus”.

Here’s a vaguely related blast from the past from Slim:

 

The Pre-Selfie Years (a slimverse)

fifteen years

ago, no

one could spell

narcissist.

 

(Be sure to check out Stiofan’s blog, it’s an eclectic mix of poetry, Irish politics and music and always interesting.).

 

Autumn and Death (2 poems and a Conversation)

 

Autumn

The leaves have abandoned

that chlorophyll thing

and are leaking yellows and reds

like a paint store catalogue.

Death (a slimverse)

A God’s voice

roaring: You!

You are not

in control.

Conversation with Slim

Me: Slim, in a previous post “Slim’s Advice Part 2” you said and I quote:

“Avoid Autumn and Death

they’ve been done before

there’s little more to say

on either score.”

Are you being ironic here in a self referential way?

Slim: No.

Me: “Slim, the first poem here is an outtake or revision of a previous poem (Slim’s Advice Part 3), are poems ever really finished?”

Slim:

“Words can be ‘

rearranged

if you just

talk to them.”

Lately, Slim has taken to talking in these 12 syllable bites he calls “slimverse” and I find it irritating and more than a little disturbing. So, as gently as I can, I say to him:

“Slim, that makes absolutely no sense to me, do you not think you are being a tad cryptic, a tad gnomic, if you keep on like this, you are danger of turning into a fucking garden ornament”

We haven’t talked since.