Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

A new kind of poem for The Disappointed Housewife

I mentioned last week that it’s open-submission time at The Disappointed Housewife, so if you have something that fits her mission, please do send it in: thedisappointedhousewife(at)gmail(dot)com. We need material for the launch!

Meanwhile, I’m not going to shy away from putting a handful of my own things in there – a situation I’ll avoid as more work starts coming in – just to have some things for people to read there. And one of the things I’m going to introduce is a form of poetry I’m calling “pentagraphs.”

What is a pentagraph? Well, it’s a short poem something like a haiku but made up of five lines of five words each (words, not syllables).

Like the haiku, a pentagraph can pack a lot into small package. Often they turn out looking like neat little squares, though that doesn’t have to be a goal of the pentagrapher. You could have one line made up of five really long words, which in itself would add a visual nuance to the poem. They also have a nice symmetry with two lines above and below the center line, the third line. You can think of lots of different ways to use that structure, say, with two theme lines to open, a turning point line, and then a wry couplet to end, or a two-line twist that changes the whole (apparent) intention of the thing.

You can rhyme or not rhyme. The form is truly open for tampering.

Why not try some on for size? I’m going to put a group of five (talk about symmetry!) on the Housewife and hope that people add to the collection as time goes on.

Here’s a rushed example, for the purposes of demonstration:


The Disappointed Housewife, brand new,
Seeks fun, fresh, freaky material,
From friends and strangers too.
What if nobody chips in?
More disappointment for her. Sad!


Now, there’s no art in this particular example, but I hope you can see some possibilities in it for ideas you can’t find quite the right way to express.

I might have invented this form, I don’t know. Maybe I just discovered it. Or rediscovered it. But I’d love to see a bunch of new ones coming in over the transom at TDH.


4 comments on “A new kind of poem for The Disappointed Housewife

  1. pinklightsabre
    December 15, 2017

    Ah, the transom coming over
    The characters made by keys
    The sense for a moment
    There’s nothing more permanent or
    less, over the transom’s knees

  2. loristory
    December 18, 2017

    A pentagraph, you say? That
    makes me think of pentagrams
    which leads me to gramophones,
    then phonographs. Speaking of music,
    have you heard The Pentangle?

    • Kevin Brennan
      December 18, 2017

      Ha! Love it! I think it behooves you to send a batch in to the Housewife. How’s 5 grab ya? 😉

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2017 by in Publishing, Writing and tagged , .
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