Triversen

The Triversen, (triple verse sentence), is a sentence broken into three lines. It has also been referred to as a “verset”, a surge of language in one breath.

The Triversen was originated by William Carlos Williams as a “native American” poetic form of the 20th century. According to Lewis Turco in his Book of Forms, it is “one of the most innovative things done to modern free-verse.” It introduced the “variable foot” to free verse. As best as I can understand, the “variable foot” is a phrase or portion of a sentence contained within a line.

The Triversen is:
• accentual. The rhythm of normal speech, employing 1 to 4 strong stresses per line.
• stanzaic, written in any number of tercets. Each tercet is a sentence broken into 3 uneven lines, each an independant clause.
• grammatical. The sentence is broken by line phrasing or lineating or sense units. There should be 3 units. L1 is a statement of fact or observation, L2 and L3 should set the tone, imply a condition or associated idea, or carry a metaphor for the original statement.
• unrhymed.
• alliterated. Alliteration accentuates stress.

Eventide by Judi Van Gorder 8-20-05

Sunset silence is interrupted
by a cursory
“rib-it”.

Diminishing 
sun slides 
behind the horizon.

Twilight arrives 
with a hic-up 
and a wink.

 

On Gay Wallpaper by William Carlos Williams

The green-blue ground
is ruled with silver lines
to say the sun is shining.

And on this moral sea
of grass or dreams like flowers
or baskets of desires

Heaven knows what they are
between cerulean shapes”
laid regularly round.

Mat roses and tridentate
leaves of gold
threes, threes, and threes.

Three roses and three stems
the basket floating
standing in the horns of blue.

Repeated to the ceiling
to the windows
where the day

Blow in
the scalloped curtains to
the sound of rain

Copied from: http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=618

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

My example

water lilies

Water Lilies (Triversen)

Water lilies on pond’s surface
lie in wait
just as though expecting us.

Posed on pads in proud profusion
as they might for Claude Monet;
only now, awaiting us.

Water lilies seem eternal
you and I
have just begun.

© Lawrencealot – August 27, 2014

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