Looking at Nonce Forms for NPM

National Poetry Month is upon us and I’m doing another NPM Scavenger Hunt. I was inspired by several WP poets to consider nonce forms. What is a nonce form? Nonce forms are essentially poetic forms created by poets for one-time use. The funny thing about nonce forms is that poets will latch onto a new form and use it – just for the fun or novelty. When enough people use a nonce form it becomes recognized as a received form and from there with repeated use is recognized as a valid poetical form. From there it can become “mainstream”. To my absolute delight, Sangeetha (Mindfills) and David (The Skeptics Kaddish) have been doing a collaboration where they have been making up and writing nonce poems. Before that Murdoch Mouse (Twisting Tails) wrote some nonce forms. Even my friend Saintvi decided to develop a nonce form. I couldn’t let them have all the fun so I developed a couple nonce poetry forms too!

This year the theme is NPM Nonce Scavenger Hunt and because saintvi asked if there would be any wiggle room, I added BONUS themes and words. Since April is a shorter month there are only 12 prompts. I’m not going to make any rules other than the prompts need to be completed in April, add a link back to this page in your post so others can join if they want, and leave a comment here so I can visit and read your amazing poetry!

1. The Tail by Michael “Mouse” Murdoch – a poem of single syllable lines. Words of more than one syllable can be broken (but only if the broken syllable is a real word). Loose rhyme is expected. The theme should be a “tall tale” or at least a tale! BONUS: Have some fun with this one!
2. Melinda’s Whimsy by saintvi – a poem of 3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) where the rhyme is A/a/a/b, a/A/a/b, a/a/A/b where A indicated the same end word. The meter is iambic trimeter for L1-L3 with L4 having 7 syllables. BONUS: Include a whimsical creature.
3. Inetersperse by David Bogomolny in his collaboration with Sangeetha for their “Creativity Forms Verses” project – a poem of at least 5 lines where the last word of every line must be monosyllabic and be different from the last word of every other line. Also it must occur in one additional place elsewhere in the poem. Rhyme and rhythm are optional. BONUS: Use a color.
4. Inside Out poem by murisopsis – a syllabic poem consisting of a minimum of 3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) with the first stanza having a syllable count of 12/8/8/12, the next having 8/12/12/8, followed by 12/8/8/12, and so on. No rhyming required and no maximum on the number of stanzas. BONUS: Use the theme of growth.
5. Troiku by Chevrefeuille – this poem consists of an initial haiku the lines become the first line in the subsequent 3 haiku stanzas. Because the 3rd stanza will begin with a 7 syllable line it requires a “letting go” of the traditional form and “free-styling”. BONUS: Use the word cloud.
6. DoReMiDo by Sangeetha – a poem of 4 stanzas of 4 lines per stanza and 4 syllables per line for 16 syllables per stanza. The four corners (syllables #1, 4, 13, 16) of each stanza must rhyme. BONUS: Include a reference to singing or song.
7. Running Repetition by murisopsis – consists of a minimum of 2 stanzas of 7 lines each. The stanzas can be written as 7 lines or broken into a quatrain followed by a tercet for emphasis. The rhyme scheme is: x/a/a/a/b/b/C where C is the same phrase repeated as a refrain in all following stanzas. The refrain is broken into 2 parts separated by a dash to indicate a catch in breath. BONUS: Use some aspect of running or repetition.
8. American Paragraph by David Bogomolny – a collection of American Sentences that consist of 17 syllables concisely written without unnecessary words or articles and should include a turn or enlightenment. BONUS: Use the word flag at least once.
9. The Mouse by Michael “Mouse” Murdoch – a 3 line poem with a title written all in lower case. The title is the same as the first line. L1: 2 single syllable words having the same number of letters per word. L2: 4 syllables in 2 words. L3: 8 syllables in 4 words. No restriction or prohibition of subject or rhyme. BONUS: Just do this one please!
10. Dizzy by murisopsis – a poem of 10 lines with 10 syllables per line with a rhyme scheme of: a/b/c/a/b/c/a/b/c/a. Requires words of motion be included in the poem. BONUS: Use the word dizzy.
11. Silver Shovel by Monty Vern – a variation of the Golden Shovel where you take a line or lines from an existing poem (make sure to credit the original poet and poem). Use each KEY word as an end word in your poem skipping words like a/an/and/the/or etc. that are not essential to the meaning of the line. Keep the end words in order. The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem the line(s) were derived from. BONUS: Use a poem from a WP poet.
12. The Helipad by Sangeetha from the “Creativity Forms Verses” nonce forms – a poem of 9 lines. All lines begin and end with the letter H which is capitalized and bolded. All words in line 5 are also capitalized and bolded. All lines should be the same length including spaces. This will form the H indicating a helicopter landing pad! BONUS: Use an animal in the poem.
13. The Zig-Zag Sonnet by Christine Bialczak – a nonce form of sonnet where the first word of L1 rhymes with the last word of L2 and the first word of L3 rhymes with the last word of L4 and keeps repeating for 14 lines. The poem has three quatrains (4 line stanzas) and then concludes with a coda of 2 lines. There are 10 syllables per line and a total of 14 lines. This was a late entry because Christine slipped this one in and I couldn’t resist!!


377 thoughts on “Looking at Nonce Forms for NPM

    1. Stephanie I have enjoyed every minute of this scavenger hunt! All the poets have created and elevated these nonce forms! My hope is that some of the forms finally make to the “big time” and perhaps some of the poems get published (so much talent!!)! This one of yours deserves to see publication – I hope you submit it to a magazine or two! Much love, Val


        1. Stephanie I go by either name – most call me Muri. The NPM scavenger hunts have been one of my favorite times – I get to read some exceptional poetry! Everyone seems to rise to the challenge and the quality of poetry is astounding!


      1. It’s nice of you to say that, Val. (I’m so used to Muri, we’ll see which one sticks!) I’ll have to consider that. I was thinking of sending a few of my children’s poems to a magazine I was published in before, only to find out their spring 2023 issue is their last. I think everyone did a great job with the prompts too. I love the variety of poems being created!


    1. You were definitely spot on with this one – and made a really good choice of the poem for the basis! This one is so good. If you hadn’t told me it was a Silver Shovel I wouldn’t have noticed because I got lost in the imagery!


  1. Pingback: Ossified – K.
  2. I am overwhelmed by the five hundred or so types of poetry that are available, so I will look more carefully at each of these, when things quiet down in my world, whenever that is.


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