Welcome to Focus on Form. For the next three weeks, each of us Muselings will be writing a poem in the same form and sharing it here on the blog.
Aragman (pronounced “a rag man”) is a fairly new form, created by Sal Buttaci in 2005. All poetry forms have to start somewhere! I’m not sure where I first heard about this style, but the notes for it have been sitting in my poetry folder for years now. I figured this would be an ideal time to pull it out and try something new.
The poem consists of six-line stanzas, ending with a stand alone line.
The concept centers around anagrams (“aragman” is, in fact, an anagram of “anagram”). Here are the rules, as set by Buttaci:
- First of all, begin with a word or two, perhaps your first name or first and last name. Settle on a word or two with not too many letters.
- After you settle on a word, go to the internet site http://Wordsmith.org/anagram
- Type in your word and click on “Get Anagrams.” Instantly, you will be provided with all the words that use the letters of your chosen word.
- Copy/paste all the words that are derived from your chosen word and carry it over to your Microsoft Word screen, give the file a name, and save it.
- Now take a look at each of the anagrams and decide on a few for your aragman. You will need three for each six-line stanza. From the list select those anagrams that can be woven into your poem.
- In each stanza, odd-numbered lines 1, 3, and 5 are different anagrams from your list. If it’s possible, restrict each anagram on these lines to the same number of syllables. Make these anagram lines darker than the others. Even-numbered lines 2, 4, and 6 are completions of corresponding anagram lines 1, 3, and 5. If possible, let these completion lines also conform to the same number of syllables.
- The poem’s last line stands alone, after the stanzas, and it is one more anagram line.
The trick for this is finding a good phrase or word that will produce enough workable anagrams. Have fun trying different word combinations until you find something you like.
Here are a few stanzas from Buttaci’s original poem, based off his first name:
SENDING SALVATORE SOME ANAGRAMS
A slaver to
the labor of wordplay
A travel so
A vast lore
from which to dabble
a hefting of strong words
A rave slot
machine to pull down poems
zapped in poetic lines
from the broken-hearted
and wet flow down faces
it’s time to add your name to
Art as love
© 2005 Salvatore Buttaci
And here is my own poem. For my first attempt, I decided to make a tribute to this group:
in lingering chats
Less in mug
as we drink, think
In sums gel
the words we play
from much revision
we come together
our words do ring
Now I open it up to you. I welcome any feedback on my poem, as long as it is constructive and not destructive. Let’s help each other improve.
I’d love to see your own attempts at the form as well. You can post them in the comments here, on future posts, or link to your poem if it’s on a separate site. I hope you have fun with the Aragman.