The Gad About Town has done it again. In “Bring Back the ABC’s” Mark Aldrich describes the invention by him and some of his writing friends of “twenty-six-word-long prose-poems” which someone in his writing group “took to calling abecedarians.” He writes:
In Merriam-Webster, an abecedarian (noun) is a novice learning the rudiments, the beginning steps, of something. (How does one learn the alphabet?) My friends and I were turning an adjective into a noun: an “abecedarian sequence” is a set of things arranged alphabetically; we were writing abecedarians, twenty-six word paragraphs that sometimes almost meant something. It was our own invention.
(Actually it was not. Robert Pinsky, the former poet laureate, wrote an ABC poem, appropriately called “ABC”:
Any body can die, evidently. Few
Go happily, irradiating joy,
Knowledge, love. Many
Need oblivion, painkillers,
Sweet time unafflicted,
And he found a terrible solution to the X Challenge, which confronts every pursuer of the perfect abecedarian. “X=your zenith.” Oh, sweet honey and the rock, that’s awful, but most of them are.)
I was terribly inspired by his post, as were others, and we flung our own abecedarians into cyber space. I cleaned mine up this morning and sent it to my writing group with wild fantasies of my own abecedarian email chain. What loads of fun we’d have. Nobody responded. So, I will fling this out to you then. Really, the X Y Z are hard.
A bronze cauldron does erupt
Forming a golden hole. (Inner
Juxtaposition) knowing, lamenting, mastering
Nothing. Only praying, querying
Saves, then underlies vastness.
(Wanting) xenophobia yearns zoning.
The featured image is “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With The Sun” by William Blake painted between 1805-1810. All work by William Blake (1757-1827) is in the public domain.