I’m on a JPat roll at the moment, happy to share news of another contribution of J. Patrick Lewis. He has invented a new poetic form, the zeno! Tricia scooped the news at The Miss Rumphius Effect earlier this week, but I think it bears repeating. I know teachers enjoy introducing the form of poetry to kids, as they model for children the different ways a poem can look and sound. And kids often enjoy this aspect of poetry too—approaching it as a puzzle to solve and understand. And I know poets themselves approach the form and structure of poetry with great intentionality and I’m always curious about why a certain choice is made. Well… drum roll… you can see Pat’s past as a professor of economics in the roots of his new poem form, the zeno. He describes it so: 

“I’ve never invented a new verse form… until now… It was inspired by the mathematical “hailstone sequence,” simply explained here…. I call the form a “zeno,” so named for Zeno, the philosopher of paradoxes,especially the dichotomy paradox, according to which getting anywhere involves first getting half way there and then again halfway there, and so on ad infinitum. I’m dividing each line in half of the previous one. Here’s my definition of a zeno: A 10-line verse form with a repeating syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. The rhyme scheme is abcdefdghd. Naturally, I don’t expect it to displace the sestina, villanelle, triolet, et al. But it would be grand if they all moved over one seat and made room for it.”

Here are a few examples to illustrate the form:

Nature’s Art Gallery 
By J. Patrick Lewis 

Wind’s paintbrush strokes in streaks the trees,
a miracle,
it knows without

Traveling by Armchair
By J. Patrick Lewis

You can take a trip by Greyhound,
ocean liner
I prefer a

Pasted from http://poetryforchildren.blogspot.com/2009/10/birth-of-zeno.html
Thanks to POETRYFORCHILDREN.BLOGSPOT for bring this to my attention.

Specifications restated:
Zeno is named after a pre-Socratic philosopher of paradoxes.

Zeno is:
a poem of 1o lines invented by J. Patrick Lewis,
syllabic: 8/4/2/1/4/2/1/4/2/1
Rhyme scheme: abcdefdghd



My example

Any Chore (Zeno)

The first half is the biggest chunk
of any job
you do.
can prevail if
you know
you’re already

© Lawrencealot – November 1, 2014


Created by C. G. V. Lewis, the Quadrilew is a form of quatrain poem
with an abab rhyming scheme, repeating lines, and contains an alternating syllable structure.
This is a stanzaic, form requiring 4 quatrains.
It is syllabic with two forms, either 5/6/5/6  repeating or 6/5/6/5 repeating.
Minimum 16 lines, No meter specified.
Refrains: The Nth line of the first quatrain is the first line of the Nth quatrain.
In the first verse, the poet may either start with a five or six syllable line.
The poem requires FOUR quatrains
Rhyme pattern: aBAB2 Baba Abab B2aba, when the capitalized letters represent the three refrain lines.
Line 1, 5 syllables.
Line 2, 6 syllables.
Line 3, 5 syllables.
Line 4, 6 syllables.
Line 1, (which is a REPEAT of line 2 of the FIRST verse) has 6 syllables.
Line 2 new line of 5 syllables
Line 3 new line of 6 syllables
Line 4 new line of 5 syllables.
Line 1, (which is a REPEAT of line 3 of the first verse) has 5 syllables.
Line 2 new line of 6 syllables.
Line 3 new line of 5 syllables.
Line 4 new line of 6 syllables.
Line 1, (which is a REPEAT of line 4 of the first verse) has 6 syllables.
Line 2 new line of 5 syllables.
Line 3 new line of 6 syllables.
Line 4 new line of 5 syllables.
If the first line of verse one has 6 syllables then the pattern is
Verse 1, 6565,
Verse 2, 5656,
Verse 3, 6565,
Verse 4 5656: (the rhyme pattern still being abab.)
If wishing to create a longer poem then the next verse (5)
must be a completely fresh set of four lines,
these being used as before in the following three verses.
Example Poem
My Goat   (Quadrilew)

My goat can’t pedal yet.
My goat likes to ride
when we go to the vet.
He likes apples fried.
My goat likes to ride
buses, trains, and , you bet
cars– on the inside!
(He don’t like gettin’ wet. )
When we go to the vet
He climbs up astride
my back and that’s no sweat.
my goat’s satisfied.
He likes apples fried
if appetite’s been whet.
Laughs he will provide,
he’s more a friend than pet.
© Lawrencealot – Janyary 20,2016

Visual Template

This is the 5/6 option

This is th 6/5 option