Arkaham Ballad

Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977) is a book for and by educators. Classic poetic forms as well as many invented forms which appear to have been invented as teaching tools or exercizes for use in workshops or classrooms are included. Some of these invented forms I have found in use in internet poetry communities, a testament to their staying power. On this page I include the metric invented forms found there in which appear to be exclusive to the community of educators from whom Ms. Berg drew her support. I have yet to find these in any other source. I have included the syllabic invented forms on a separate page. Whether classroom exercise or sharpening your skill as a writer, some of these forms can be fun to play with.

Arkaham Ballad can be identified by the last line of each stanza being repeated as the first three metric feet of the next stanza. One more invented stanza form appears to be a teaching tool created by Queena Davidson Miller. It is not really a ballad but is suited to relate current events and news articles.

The Arkaham Ballad is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains.
○ accentual syllabic, iambic, L1, L3, L4 tetrameter and L2 and L5 trimeter.
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme xabba xcddc xeffe etc. x being unrhymed.
○ composed with L5 repeated as the 1st three metric feet of L1 of the next stanza.
○ suited to current events and the news.

Police Shooting by Judi Van Gorder

They say an unarmed man was shot
by cops who’ve run-a-muck.
A family man who cut some hair
and shaved a face or two. A pair
of punks highjacked a truck.

The punks highjacked a truck and he
was at the same address,
police arrived and shots were fired,
the barber hit and soon expired
The why of it a guess.

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.


My example

Conduct Unbecoming (Arkaham Ballad)

Subcultures determine the flow
when hate has been accrued.
For race and religion involve
some problems most hard to resolve.
Perhaps mankind is screwed.

Perhaps mankind is screwed my friend,
as Ferguson has shown,
and Watts before, and Rodney King,
and every other racial thing.
The hateful seeds are sown.

The hateful seeds are sown by acts
that we can justify.
We’ll plunder, hurt, and break the laws
and disregard, it harms our cause
but still won’t satisfy.

© Lawrencealot – September 1, 2014

Visual template

Arkaham Ballad

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