Trisect

This is a poetry form created by Erin A. Thomas, writing on Allpoetry.com as Zahhar.

What is a Trisect?

  Background

  The trisect is a three-part poetic form that is inspired by its visual counterpart, the tryptych. I wanted to use the concept of the tryptych as a vehicle for developing my use of verbal depiction, but I found this difficult when I attempted to do so without a solid framework to work from. So, after much thought, I created the rules by which such a poem—which I named the trisect—would be written.

  It is not very often that a poetic form has semantic requirements beyond that of repeating a few words or phrases, such as with the sestina or villanelle. But, since I wanted to use this form to make a detailed study of verbal depiction over an extended period of time, I realized that there should be several semantic requirements designed to obstruct the natural tendency toward prosaic exposition, a trap that even the most seasoned of poets finds difficult to escape.

  As such, I could see that the trisect should never attempt to sell an idea or explain a concept, whether that concept be a personal experience or the interpretation of any material or mental object. It should, however, thoroughly exercise and develop ones powers of observation, a sense of relational association between things, and the use of depictive and metaphoric language.

  So the trisect should never explain itself to the reader or give itself away. The goal, then, would be to depict observations and experiences using only imagery and metaphor. This provides the reader with a way of interpreting the words purely from his or her own experience rather than, as is customary, being told what to think, feel, and believe about them. I could see that as I write my verbal tryptych, the trisect, I should, as far as possible, use depiction in such a way as to obfuscate my own interpretation of what is being portrayed so that the words create a series of visually (sensationally) depicted associations from my observations, with a special focus on particular objects, from which the reader can derive his or her own experience.

  The success of a trisect poem with a given reader, then, would be gauged by the level of interest he or she takes in it, the degree of significance he or she ascribes to it, and how much or how powerful of an experience he or she derives from it. If the reader has a vivid, memorable experience despite the abstract nature of the language, then I think something went right. With this in mind, I developed the rules of the trisect form with the hope of maximizing such potential.

  Form

  The trisect poem is defined by both structural and semantic rules. The structural rules are intended simply to create an appropriate, adaptable frame for the trisect’s content. I think this is important because they create a challenge that forces the poet to rise to the occasion, inspiring a conscious refinement of language and flow. The semantic rules are essential to the depictive nature of the form. Without them the poet can just say whatever he or she feels and thinks without actually exercising the use of verbal depiction, which is the entire point behind the form. These rules are also intended to promote the use of abstract language, which should create a surrealist feel, thus ensuring a strong, visually potent verbal tryptych. So bear this in mind as you study the rules below, whether you’re reading this article to better understand the idea behind the form or to learn how to try your own hand at it.

  Structural rules

  1. The trisect is always titled.
  2. It is organized into three individual poems that I refer to as segments.
  3. Each segment is always subtitled.
  4. There are four stanzas in each segment.
  5. Each stanza must be a tercet or a quatrain.
  6. Each line must be between two and seven feet long (dimeters to heptameters).

  These rules provide a canvas and a frame for the word-painting without being overly restrictive. A segment can be 12 to 16 lines long, and lines can be two to seven feet long. This allows for brevity by using only tercets with shorter lines, but it also permits the necessary space to complete a more complex depiction by allowing quatrains to be used with longer lines. If you are uncertain about the use of meter, you can visit my articles on verbal meter, starting with “Discovering the Iamb and the Trochee“.

  Now for the semantic rules, which are far more restrictive, but provide the real meat for the purposes of this form.

  Semantic rules

  1. No first person personal pronouns may be used anywhere in the poem.First person personal pronouns such asImemymine, and myself may not be used anywhere in the poem. This includes the title and subtitles. The same goes for inclusive personal pronouns such as we and ours.

If you have to use such personal pronouns to express something, then you should use another poetic form or free verse to do so. These pronouns generally are only used to express romantic ideals or personal feelings and opinions. The language of the trisect is not at all romantic or self-expressive, but depictive—And purely depictive.

  1. Segment one depicts an item without naming it.As far as possible, use imagery and metaphor to depict a given item of focus without naming it. This is by no means limited to mere visual descriptions. To truly depict something, the brain must stretch (sometimes painfully) to include other sorts of information about it. Such information can include the item’s textures, smells, environment, history, development, behavior, relation to other items and time, and much more. The observations used to depict the item will be colored by your own perception, experience, and understanding of it. This is only way self-expression comes into play, which will happen one way or the other in each of the three segments.To help clarify, read the first segments of each of the following trisect poems in relation to what their items of focus are:

Trisect Poem

Focus of Segment One

E merge nce

cardboard

Guardian

modern canoe

Three Ravens

figurine of a raven

Architect

the LEGO brick

  1. Segment two depicts a more complex item without naming it.The item of focus for segment two is only more complex in relation to the item of focus for segment one. So, the item depicted by segment one can itself be complex, but the item depicted by segment two must be—or at least seem to be—more complex.

If segment one depicts a flower petal, for instance, then segment two could depict the flower itself because it is more complex by comparison. For another example, if segment one depicts the earth, then segment two could depict the sun, the solar system, or the galaxy because any of these would be more complex by comparison.

Again, to help clarify ways of depicting something without naming it, I recommend reading segment two from each the same poems:

Trisect Poem

Focus of Segment Two

E merge nce

the automobile

Guardian

the Yukon river—so by extension, ‘a river’

Three Ravens

a raven

Architect

the LEGO construct—things made from legos

  1. Segment two includes a reference to the item depicted by segment one.This is of course done without naming it. The reference can be vague and peculiar to your own experience and understanding. Going back again to the four poems, I’ll illustrate key phrases from their second segments which reference the item depicted by the first:

Trisect Poem

Excerpt

Type of Reference

E merge nce

“… an alley’s dirt”

location

Guardian

“a fleck of lost humanity”

relational metaphor

Three Ravens

“… / where … an icon lures”

location and metaphor

Architect

“Imagination …”

application and association

  1. Segment three depicts an event or process without naming it.This is the crux of the trisect. Generally speaking, the items depicted in the first and second segments are in some way associated with or involved in the event or process depicted by the third segment. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, the depicted event or process may not be named—directly denoted.For instance, if you are depicting a car accident, you would not use any words that could be part of a direct denotation of the event, like “car”, “automobile”, “wreck”, or “accident”—Words found in such denotive phrases as “automobile accident” or “car wreck”. Instead, the language will focus on depicting individual, potentially telling elements and aspects of the event or process. This could involve phrases such as, “crushing contact”, “black lightning struck”, “chrome bending shock”—Just to give an idea.

    The event or process depicted may of course be compounded, for they will rarely stand alone anyway.

    Returning again to the four poems I’ve been using as examples, ponder the third segment of each poem in relation to the event or process it depicts:

Trisect Poem

Focus of Segment Two

E merge nce

hit and run & near death experience

Guardian

an animistic experience on the Yukon river

Three Ravens

a dream experience involving flight and metamorphosis

Architect

development of cognition through explorative play

  1. Segment three includes references to the items depicted by segment one and segment two.This is the same idea as that explained above under the fourth point. As I did there, I’ll indicate key phrases from the third segment of each example poem which reference back to the items depicted in the first and second segments of that poem.References back to segment one’s item of focus:

Trisect Poem

Excerpt

Type of Reference

E merge nce

“shelter shattered open like a nest”

usage and state

Guardian

“… the floating soul …”

usage and relational metaphor

Three Ravens

“… in the shade of gaze …”

action and behavior

Architect

“Individual colors snap …”

application and metaphor

References back to segment two’s item of focus:

Trisect Poem

Excerpt

Type of Reference

E merge nce

“black lightning”

metaphor

Guardian

“from out the wash … floating soul”

spatial and relational attributes

Three Ravens

“… a figurine”

partial denotation

Architect

“impressionist expressions of the mind”

metaphor

This list is by no means complete. The third segment of some of these poems have multiple references to the items depicted by each of the previous segments. But this should give some idea.

  1. Subtitles do not explicitly denote the focus of their segments.The subtitle captures some attribute or aspect of a segment’s focus through metaphor or some other type of reference, but does not identify it directly by name or denotation.
  2. The poem’s title must avoid giving away the overall focus of the poem or any of its segments.Just as the subtitle should avoid giving away the focus of its segment, the title should avoid giving away the focus of the poem in a similar fashion. Rely on metaphor or some other associative type of reference when deciding a title.

  The rules are actually easier to follow than they might seem. The challenge is in following them well, to good effect. This can only be discovered via trial and error, as I have been doing with the form until now.

Pasted from <http://formlesspoet.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-is-trisect.html>

E merge nce

Fortress

walls of paper kept the world at bay

cubes of indistinction none would see

where settled there within a watcher peered

the dusty brown a perfect camouflage

propped against a wall or by a hedge

passed a thousand times by reckless feet

corrugated fibers held the wind

so that the space inside was made to form

a child’s island haven from the storm

sometimes it was a spaceship among the stars

sometimes a moon-base on a barren scape

sometimes a roving tank all battle-scarred

but always it provided safe escape

Goliath

shaped from molten vats of ore

molded by a burning greed

riveted with violent force

pieces merge to fill a need

manifest from heavy silence

oils surge and slowly drip

uncertainty across the roads

power charges through its frame

explosions channeled in its chest

to serve a senseless master’s will

tires grind an alley’s dirt

shadows steer a ghostly wheel

the phantom grill athirst for blood

Impact

black lightning strikes the living clay

evaporating life from every limb

suspending consciousness alone

void of breath yet interfused with fear

tires spin throughout the dark

an engine roars above a twisted neck

inches from a lifeless face

psychic tethers anchored in vibration

a heedless monster lumbers back

the shelter shattered open like a nest

blood resumes its former course

and wild bones reanimate the flesh

a figure stands and staggers numb with pain

screams and scampers filled with terror

headlights rear and fade away

a child’s bones left fractured like his mind

  The first segment focuses on cardboard. I used to create cardboard forts when I was a child—sometimes very elaborate—and hang out in them all day long. Some of them would be portable, and some would be built in vacant lots or alleyways blocks or miles from home. They were always very well camouflaged, so my little hideout would remainmy little hideout. The portable ones I’d often setup at the edge of a busy parking lot, made to look like a pile of scrap cardboard, where I’d hang out and just watch people without them knowing. These simple forts were a safe haven for me, a private place to go and be away from troubles and worries. And I had my share.

  The second segment focuses on the automobile, the car. I remember reading up on their manufacturing process and design, and the primary materials used in their construction, before starting this segment.

  The third segment focuses on a little mishap I had in one of those cardboard forts as a 14 year old, which involved a car. It was in an alleyway a few blocks from home. City blocks. Los Angeles City blocks. About a mile away at least. I had some big fight with my mother that day and decided I’d just have my own space that night in a cardboard fort I and a friend had built a day or two before. It was a beautiful fort, with four separate compartments, each of which were big enough to lay out flat in. The whole thing was masterfully camouflaged with various sorts of debris from the area, including dead palm branches and branches of other sorts. In the end it looked like a slash pile, just a bunch of branches and other random materials tossed into a pile—but it was hollow, and there were access points.

  That night as I slept a car slammed into the fort and ran over my right arm, shoulder, and neck, breaking the upper arm longways from near the elbow across to the top near the ball socket, and blew a piece out of the ball socket itself. My neck was severely sprained—which is of course a miracle. It was possible to make out the tire treads on my throat. How I happened to be aligned such that the tire didn’t snap my head one way and pop my skull off the spine like a bottle opener I have no idea.

  This was my first NDE. I have no way to prove it, but I just know. I know what I experienced, and I was dead for at least a moment—and a moment is long enough to be dead. Sometime I’ll dedicate some poetry and discussion to that experience. But as I “returned”, after the car had somehow managed to back up off me without running over my neck a second time, I sprang up in a panic, and it came toward me again, then stopped, then backed all the way down the alley and around the far corner, as if in a mad rush to escape affiliation with the mishap. I’ll never forget the sight of those headlights.

  I was near a series of hotels. And each time I knocked, with my left arm since right wouldn’t respond, the owners would come to the door and I’d ask for help and they’d slam the door on me. It sucked. In this manner I ended up up making my way half a mile to an apartment complex my mom had lived in a year or so before, where some people knew me, and an ambulance was called.

Pasted from http://formlesspoet.blogspot.com/2008/03/e-merge-nce.html

Thanks to the Erin for his efforts and example.

Hybridanelle

What is a Hybridanelle?

First I shall give you my restated specifications, then present the original instructions by the inventor, Erin Thomas, aka Zahhar on Allpoetry.

The Hybridanell is:
A poem of 38 lines,
A combination of the Villanell and the Terzanelle,
Stanzaic, Consisting of 10 tercet stanzas, followed by 2 quatrains
Rhymed with one of two patterns: where subscripted capitals indicate refrained lines. Rhyme may be of any type, true, false, associative, assonance, consonance, etc..
Type A pattern:
 A1bA2 C1D1C2 abA1 cE1D1 abA2 eF1E1 abA1 fG1F1 abA2 gH1G1 abA1A2 hC1H1C2
Type B pattern:
A1B1A2 C1dC2 bE1B1 cdC1 eF1E1 cdC2  fG1F1 cdC1 gH1G1 cdC2 hA1H1A2 cdC1C2
Line length: at poet’s discretion
Meter: at poet’s discretion
=================================================

The hybridanelle (hi ‘brid an ,nell) is a 38 line poetic form that is a combination of the Italian villanelle and Lewis Turco’s terzanelle. It is created by interlacing the villanelle and terzanelle stanzaic structures together, kind of like shuffling cards, where the stanzas of each form are the individual cards. This means the villanelle and terzanelle refrains and end-line schemes leapfrog one another in the hybridanelle.

Instead of the end-line rhyme used by the villanelle and terzanelle forms, the hybridanelle’s end-line scheme may use other types of parallelism, phonemic or associative. As such, in the hybridanelle, the end-line scheme is exactly that, an “end-linescheme”, not a “rhyme scheme”. I have posted an article, “Some Alternatives to Rhyme”, that discusses and exemplifies many phonological alternatives to rhyme. I intend for the hybridanelle to be very approachable as an English poetic form rather than being yet another hand-me-down from another language that does not share the linguistic characteristics of English. Rhyme is one of the most limiting strictures imposed upon English poetry from languages such as Latin, Greek, and French.

There are two varieties of hybridanelle, Type A and Type B. The Type A hybridanelle begins with the villanelle’s opening tercet and ends with the terzanelle’s closing quatrain; the Type B hybridanelle, the inverse of the Type A, begins with the terzanelle’s opening tercet and ends with the villanelle’s closing quatrain.

The most useful way I have found to clarify all the points of a poetic form is to enumerate them.

First there are three points general to both the Type A and B hybridanelles:
1. The hybridanelle is comprised of ten tercets and two closing quatrains, totaling twelve stanzas.
2. Lines may be of any length or meter within reason.
3. Hybridanelles may be written on any subject.
The remaining points are different depending on whether you’re writing a Type A or a Type B hybridanelle.

First, Type A:
A4.
The first line from the opening tercet is used again as the third line of the third and seventh tercets and the penultimate quatrain. The third line from the opening tercet is used again as the third line of the fifth and ninth tercets and as the fourth line of the penultimate quatrain.
A5.
The first line of the opening tercet begins the a end-line scheme, used by the first line of every odd numbered tercet along with the penultimate quatrain. The second line of the opening tercet begins the b end-line scheme, used by the second line of each odd numbered tercet along with the penultimate quatrain.
A6.
The first and third lines of the second tercet are used again as the second and fourth lines of the closing quatrain, and they use the C end-line scheme between them.
A7.
The even numbered tercets, starting with the fourth tercet, each refrains the second line form the preceding even numbered tercet as its third line. The first line of each of these tercets uses an end-line parallelism with its refrained line.
A8.
The third line of the closing quatrain refrains the second line of the last tercet and uses end-line parallelism between its first line and that refrain.
A shorthand notation can be used to clarify the above points. Like letters indicate the end-line scheme, and uppercase letters followed by a superscript numeric notation indicate the refrains: A1bA2, C1D1C2, abA1, cE1D1, abA2, eF1E1, abA1, fG1F1 abA2,gH1G1, abA1A2, hC1H1C2.

Now, for Type B:
B4.
The first and third lines of the opening tercet are used again as the second and fourth lines of the penultimate quatrain and use the A end-line scheme between them.
B5.
The odd numbered tercets, starting with the third tercet, each refrains the second line of the preceding odd numbered tercet as its third line. The first line of each of these tercets uses an end-line parallelism with its refrained line.
B6.
The third line of the penultimate quatrain refrains the second line from the ninth tercet and uses an end-line parallelism between its first line and that refrain.
B7.
The first line from the second tercet is used again as the third line of the fourth and eight tercets and the closing quatrain. The third line from the second tercet is used again as the third line of the sixth and tenth tercets and as the fourth line of the closing quatrain.
B8.
The first line of the second tercet begins a c end-line scheme, used by the first line of every even numbered tercet along with the closing quatrain. The second line of the second tercet begins a d end-line scheme, used by the second line of each even numbered tercet along with the closing quatrain.
The shorthand notation for the above points is as follows: A1B1A2, C1dC2, bE1B1,cdC1, eF1E1, cdC2, fG1F1 cdC1, gH1G1, cdC2, hA1H1A2, cdC1C2.

This information may be difficult to visualize without examples, so both the Type A and Type B hybridanelles are exemplified below with the shorthand notation for each type expanded out across the lines.

This first poem exemplifies the Type A hybridanelle:

Stormlight by Zahhar

formlesspoet/2008/04/stormlight.html

A1 Frantic flashes illustrate my view,
b   Random moments shot into the light;
A2 Thunder crushes every hope anew.
C1  I pass the night in a frail abandoned home,
D1 A weary vagrant teen deprived of will
C2 Awaiting the dawn within its quaking hold.
a   Visions strobe throughout the empty room,
b   Shadows briefly singed by every bolt;
A1 Frantic flashes illustrate my view.
d   I curl within my bag against the wall;
E1 There’s nothing left for the winds to rip from me,
D1 A weary vagrant teen deprived of will.
a   Etched amid the suffocating gloom,
b   Monster clouds roll black against the night;
A2 Thunder crushes every hope anew.
e   I’ve struggled to grasp what life could ever mean
F1 As memory and mind are stripped away;
E1 There’s nothing left for the winds to rip from me.
a   Leafless limbs are drawn in sepia hues;
b   Stark against the darkness of my thought,
A1 Frantic flashes illustrate my view.
f   I watch and listen, numb and half-aware,
G1 My slumber but vivid streaks of fitful dream,
F1 As memory and mind are stripped away.
a   Anxious waiting constantly resumes;
b   Shocked repeatedly from fugue to doubt,
A2 Thunder crushes every hope anew.
g   I try to manage what rest I can redeem,
H1 Protected from the storm by shifting frames,
G1 My slumber but vivid streaks of fitful dream.
a  Desolation roars the whole night through;
b  Forces seem to tear the world apart;
A1 Frantic flashes illustrate my view;
A2 Thunder crushes every hope anew.
h  Uncertain shadows pose in countless forms;
C1 I pass the night in a frail abandoned home,
H1 Protected from the storm by shifting frames,
C2 Awaiting the dawn within its quaking hold.

In this poem the end-line parallelisms used for the a and b schemes are assonance and consonance, respectively. The end-line parallelisms used for the remaining end-line schemes alternate between reverse rhyme (some of which is partial reverse rhyme) and frame rhyme.

Although a fixed meter is not a requirement of this form, a consistent meter or set of meters contributes greatly to the way the hybridanelle flows. This is a form of poetry that is not very forgiving of clumsy phraseologies or word flow. In this poem, the villanelle “weave” uses catalectic trochaic pentameter while the terzanelle weave uses a combination of iambic pentameter and iambic-anapestic pentameter.

This next poem exemplifies the Type B hybridanelle
Inhumation by Zahhar

formlesspoet/2008/03/inhumation.html

A1 locked wards cower in the distant gloom;
B1 grated windows pattern all my dreams;
A2 heavy haze distorts my heavy mood.
C1 my eyes are weary of watching faded lights;
d   i wait throughout the dismal night to hear
C2 the call of a rooster just beyond my sight.
b   silence is an ever-present drone;
E1 tempered springs betray my slightest move;
B1 grated windows pattern all my dreams.
c   these cinderblocks enfold my spirit in lime;
d   interred in tomblike walls of concrete halls,
C1 my eyes are weary of watching faded lights.
e   thoughts amid this broken darkness brood;
F1 restless motions lurk within the shade;
E1 tempered springs betray my slightest move.
c   this is the crypt where my rotting soul is set,
d   thus laid to rest beyond that twilight hail,
C2 the call of a rooster just beyond my sight.
f   time is fractured into mental shards,
G1 strewn against the darkness of my view;
F1 restless motions lurk within the shade.
c   and the images betray my heart with lies
d  that flash against my mind as crumbled hopes;
C1 my eyes are weary of watching faded lights.
g   here i watch them phase in empty hues,
H1 omens of a future laid in brick
G1 strewn against the darkness of my view.
c   this lucid static is comfort of a sort
d   that’s lost with every sunrise when i hear
C2 the call of a rooster just beyond my sight.
h   black within the slowly rising brume,
A1 locked wards cower in the distant gloom,
H1 omens of a future laid in brick;
A2 heavy haze distorts my heavy mood.
c   i dread the sound that will end another night,
d   a sound that seals my fate within this hell—
C1 my eyes are weary of watching faded lights—
C2 the call of a rooster just beyond my sight.

In this poem the end-line parallelisms used for the c and d schemes, which is the villanelle weave, is a pattern of partial rhyme, reverse rhyme, and frame rhyme. The end-line parallelisms used for the remaining end-line schemes, which is the terzanelle weave, alternate between assonance and alliteration.

These two hybridanelle examples use phonological parallelism for their end-line schemes. For an example of a hybridanelle that uses associative parallelism for its end-line scheme, see the poem “Legacy”, which was written after this article was originally written. With associative parallelism, words relate to one another through meaning. In “Legacy”, the parallelisms are synonymic (alike in meaning) and metonymic (related through attributes).

What makes this form fascinating is the way elaborate end-line schemes can be used to create sound and word patterns—moods—that are unprecedented, or at very least uncommon, in English poetry.

Because the villanelle and terzanelle refrains weave through alternating stanzas in the hybridanelle, there is more distance between the refrains in the hybridanelle than in the villanelle or terzanelle. This makes it much easier to setup new contexts for the refrained lines, which can give those lines a fresh feel every time they are repeated—I have had some people read my hybridanelles without even realizing there were refraining lines—Yet the power of the refrains is not at all lost. If anything their power is intensified because they do not overwhelm the reader or audience.

Although the hybridanelle is inspired by the established villanelle and terzanelle forms, the fact that the hybridanelle uses an open end-line scheme, rather than the fixed end-line rhyme scheme used by its predecessors, makes it an entirely new form with an whole spectrum of new possibilities.

Pasted from <http://formlesspoet.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-is-hybridanelle.html>

My example
Don’t Wait 55 Years (Hybridanelle)

When I was young I climbed to mountain peaks.
It was a hike, a thing I’d do for fun;
to do it now would surely take me weeks.

The view from up above left me inspired
for on the top I stood above the clouds.
When young a man can climb and not get tired.

I’m older now; my body’s come undone
I lack the strength to scale the mountain face.
It was a hike, a thing I’d do for fun;

I thought I’d have the time when I retired,
I’d spend my time away from milling crowds.
The view from up above left me inspired.

But old man time has put me in my place.
A sedentary life extracts a cost;
I lack the strength to scale the mountain face.

The upward view itself should be admired,
it’s now the mountain tops the clouds enshroud.
When young a man can climb and not get tired.

Endurance, vim, and strength itself are lost;
This elder has to pace himself too slow;
A sedentary life extracts a cost.

With young teammates ascent could be acquired
that’s not my way, although it is avowed
the view from up above left me inspired.

I’ll see such scenes as those in video;
I should have climbed more often as a youth.
This elder has to pace himself too slow;

I did what at the time I most desired –
a truth I guess, that can’t be disavowed.
When young a man can climb and not get tired.

I’m happy now, but getting long of tooth.
When I was young I climbed to mountain peaks.
I should have climbed more often as a youth.
to do it now would surely take me weeks.

When age conspires to make a man bone-tired
he’ll have to leave some fertile fields unploughed.
The view from up above left me inspired.
When young a man can climb and not get tired.

© Lawrencealot – October 13, 2014

A visual template

Hybridanelle