A recent invention, the Bop was created by Afaa Michael Weaver during a summer retreat of the African American poetry organization, Cave Canem. Not unlike the Shakespearean sonnet in trajectory, the Bop is a form of poetic argument consisting of three stanzas, each stanza followed by a repeated line, or refrain, and each undertaking a different purpose in the overall argument of the poem.
The first stanza (six lines long) states the problem, and the second stanza (eight lines long) explores or expands upon the problem. If there is a resolution to the problem, the third stanza (six lines long) finds it. If a substantive resolution cannot be made, then this final stanza documents the attempt and failure to succeed.

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Poetic Form: The Bop
Like most modern forms, The Bop has both contextual and structural aspects. Also, like most modern forms, the structural part is pretty loose, that is, the poet is given complete freedom concerning syllable stress, number of syllables or words, to rhyme or not to rhyme, etcetera. The contextual aspect is that the poem tells a certain kind of story in a certain order.
It goes like this:
• First stanza, six lines, outlines a problem
• Second stanza, eight lines long, describes the problem
• Third stanza, six lines, solves or demonstrates the failure to solve the problem
• Each stanza is followed by the same “refrain” line
This same contextual structure is used in novels and short stories as well. Take the Trojan War, for instance:
• Problem: Troy abducts Helen
• Expansion: Though the Greeks are angry, Troy is fortified and well armed
• Solution: Trojan (actually Greek) Horse
You get the idea.
A variation on the The Bop adds a fourth six-line stanza, once again followed by the refrain line. Following is an example of a three-stanza Bop:
Me and Sisyphus

All my life I’ve rolled a big ball
Of money up the mountain
Of desire. Sisyphus and me
We are not getting any younger
Serving out sentences
Doled out by vengeful gods

Sisyphus keeps rolling that rock up the mountain.

Each day the mountain gets steeper
As I get older my knees get weaker
Wind blows some dollars away
Bandits in helicopters grab fistfuls and fly
While I continue to try, day by day
Life seems only to get worse
Me and Sisyphus, both cursed 
With endurance

Sisyphus keeps rolling that rock up the mountain.

Come a day the load gets too heavy
The knees too weak, all a body
Can do is just to let it go
Watch the big ball bounce on down
“Look,” said Sisyphus. You got no money!”
I said, “I know, pal. I’ll see you around, okay?”

Sisyphus keeps rolling that rock up the mountain.
It’s fun, sometimes, to get a mythical character involved in your work, and useful, too. They always symbolize a human trait or condition of life: heroes, victims, the loyal and the faithless, the one who rises to power, the one who fails and falls into despondency and death. This is the stuff of drama.

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My example

Multiculturalism (Bop)

From tyranny some of them came,
or poverty no end in sight.
A brand new country, brand new game,
a chance to work to solve their plight.
They’d get naught upon arrival
but a change for their survival.

The huddled masses came ashore.

Some bought with them religions scorned.
Some wanted unblocked avenues.
Unpretentious, and un adorned
some came with skills that they could use
while others were indentured men
who’d bend for years to other’s will
’til time came they could start again.
Those very thoughts brought forth a thrill.

The huddled masses came ashore.

They’d bond with others of their kind
to keep sub-cultures of their own
but they’d adopt and they’d align
embracing their new country’s tone.
But now they merely storm our gate
and infiltrate to spread their hate.

The huddled masses came ashore.

© Lawrencealot – October 5, 2014