Monday, November 9, 2015

Now I've Seen Everything

A Poetic Form Based on Your Phone Number [by Robert Schultz]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     NOV. 9, 2015
The Poertner . . .
is a syllabic poem of 10 lines in three stanzas, in which the number of syllables in each line is determined by the recipient’s phone number, for example:
7         Sparked because the area
5         code is the inverse
7         of her favorite form—haiku—
6         with people glued to their
2         cell phones,
4         it's a way to
6         connect without looking
7         up. To profess love on a
4         miniature screen.
- Emily Sierra Poertner
Devotees of the Poertner see it as a revival of Frank O’Hara’s Personism, “which puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style.”
About zeros: Parnassian practitioners of this form say that a zero dictates a skipped line with a return. Others suggest that the zero be used as a “wild card”; one can omit the line (as in the example above), replacing it with a space or, alternatively, write a line of any length, up to 9 syllables (as below).
The inventor of this form is Emily Sierra Poertner, and she is happy to receive Poertners at the number shown above. Her peers have named the form after its creator. On the question of the zero, Ms. Poertner says, “For me, it dictates a skipped line, but the form isn’t mine anymore. I see chains of Poertners flying around cyberspace, linking people like old-fashioned chain letters, but with sweet, funny poems instead of death threats.”
7         The poem must move between
5         author and reader
7         “Lucky-Pierre, style,” as Frank
6         O’Hara said. It must
2         move like
0         a letter, but now text
4         or email or
6         whatever comes next. It
7         must resist “must” in favor
4         of fun, of love.
-- Robert Schultz

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