Bio Poem

• The Bio Poem is an invented form found at Poetry Base that was probably created as a classroom teaching tool. It becomes a poetic biography.

The Bio Poem is:
○ 11 lines.
○ unmetered. The line is at the discretion of the poet.
○ rhymed or unrhymed at the discretion of the poet.
○ written about someone’s life, fictional or nonfictional. The lines follow a set formula to describe:
L 1 first name of the subject
L 2 4 words to describe subject
L 3 Brother or sister of ….. name siblings
L4 Lover of ,,,,,name 3 things or people subject loves
L5 Who feels — about 3 subjects
L6 Who needs… 3 things
L7 Who gives… 3 things
L9 Who fears… 3 things
L10 Who would like to see…
L11 Resident of ….
L10 subjects last name

Here is a freeverse “Bio Poem” that steps outside the frame of the verse form above but attempts to capture the intent of the form.

Marguerite Johnson, A Caged Bird No More by Judi Van Gorder

Poet-writer, dancer, daughter-mother, civil rights activist, renaissance woman
————————————————–who’s little brother Bailey named Maya.
Lover of books, freedom and human dignity,
—refusing to step off the sidewalk,
————————– opened eyes with her talents
———————————————— and lived life on her terms.
She needs someone to read her words and listen to her song,
she shares her talent, her intellect, and her passions through her books,
what fears she may have felt, like her ancestors, she has conquered.
Her eyes would see a new world free of hatred, selfishness and bigotry.
The globe is her home, Northern California her refuge.

Maya Angelou continues to rise,
———————— the voice of a people,
——————————— the fulfillment of the slaves’ dreams.

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

Bio Poem
Type: Structure, Other Requirement, Simple
Description: This poetic form seems to have come from some teacher’s lesson plan for studying a book with lots of characters and relationships; however, that’s no reason not to co-opt and extend it to daily life. The bio-poem is written about one of the main characters of a book or your life with the contents of the eleven lines of the poem as described in the schematic. Somewhere in the poem, refer to a symbol from the book or your life that helps define the individual’s actions, emotions, personality, etc.
Impressions: Apparently used as a teaching tool.
Line 1: The character’s first name
Line 2: Four words that describe the character
Line 3: Brother or sister of…
Line 4: Lover of…(three ideas or people)
Line 5: Who feels…(three ideas)
Line 6: Who needs…(three ideas)
Line 7: Who gives…(three ideas)
Line 8: Who fears…(three ideas)
Line 9: Who would like to see…
Line 10: Resident of
Line 11: His or her last name
Rhythm/Stanza Length:
Line/Poem Length: 11

Pasted from <
My thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.

My example

Lee Child’s Protagonist (Bio Poem)

Jack is his first name.
Fearless, Large, Retired Army MP Major, Powerful
with no siblings
lover of justice, independent women, and his freedom
who feels political correctness is nonsense, one should get their retaliation in first, and should observe the details,
who needs little sleep, little warning, and no commitments,
He gives bad guys bad times, women ideas, and motels false names.
He fears no one he has yet met, and no situation with options.
He would like to see a different place tomorrow.
He has no permanent address.
Reacher is what he’s called.

© Lawrencealot – October 10, 2014

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