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ACROSTICS POETRY: DEFINITIONS, EXAMPLES & NOTES

An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last or other letters in the poems lines spell out a particular word or phrase, which is oftentimes the title of the poem.

They are fun to write and the common type is where the first letters of each line of a poem spell out a word or phrase.

Personally, I find it useful when writing poems for friends on occasions like birthdays.

Acrostics are playful
contrivances of prose or verse
rendered so that each line
opens or closes with words in
sequence to read from
top to bottom, their
initial or final letters
constituting a word or phrase.
— Ned Halley, Dictionary of Modern English Grammar. Wordsworth, 2005

Though the typical acrostic uses the first letters of a line are used to spell the message, the words formed can appear anywhere:

  1. At the beginning of lines
  2. At the end of lines
  3. In the middle of the lines

Examples
—FEAR
Frightening
Eerie and strange
Anxiety rises
Ready to flee

— Tijjani Muhammad Musa ‘HONEY’ (first letter word)
Howsoever I may wish to come
Over to your heart for comfort
Never will I be fulfilled, until I can
Enter into your smile, upon which
Yesterday gave birth to our love today.

—POEM (internal word)
Pick uP a pen
Think of a tOpic
Be crEative
Use your iMagination

—STAR
Shines and twinkleS
In the nighT
There is a plethorA
Forever and eveR

Examples from the Greats:

— Edgar Allan Poe ‘ELIZABETH’
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L. E. L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breathe it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His folly — pride — and passion — for he died.

— John Keats ‘KEATS’
Kind sister! aye, this third name says you are;
Enchanted has it been the Lord knows where;
And may it taste to you like good old wine,
Take you to real happiness and give
Sons, daughters and a home like honied hive.

Can you try to write a poem with your name and submit as a comment here?

Written with help from:
Young Writers
Grammar.About.Com
YourDictionary.com

Author: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

KIS, author of two poetry collections, ‘WHAT CAN WORDS DO?’ and ‘I SAID THESE WORDS’, is an award-winning Nigerian writer, photographer, and media professional with experience in journalism, PR, publishing and media management. In 2016, he was listed in Nigerian Writers Awards’ list of 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL NIGERIAN WRITERS UNDER 40. The same year 2016, he won the Nigerian Writer’s Award for ‘Best Poet In Nigeria 2015.’ he had also won the Orange Crush 1st Prize for Poetry in 2012.
He is the CEO of Words Rhymes & Rhythm LTD.

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