A Matrix Poem

Magnetic PoetryLately, I’ve been playing around with creating a poem that reads two ways. All poems, of course, can be understood in multiple ways, but I wanted one with words that could actually be read in two different orders–and make just as much sense in each. Early on, I came up with the idea of arranging the words of the poem in a grid, so that they could be read either across rows or down columns. The trick was to find a matrix of words that would not only be intelligible in either direction but actually meaningful and emotionally evocative. It’s not as easy as it may sound, even for a grid that contains only six words total. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, and the process made me think quite a bit about grammar. I spent a while thinking up words that can serve as multiple parts of speech, or as conjugations for multiple subjects. (This poetic form could be much more difficult in languages that don’t have as much grammatical crossover.)

So far, the results are not brilliant, but I thought I’d share with you the best matrix poem I’ve yet constucted. Maybe it will spur your own creativity. If you do write any of your own, please share.

Matrix Poem #1

      I                  could

believe                 if

   you                pushed

5 responses to “A Matrix Poem”

  1. Brilliant out of the box thinking (pun sort of intended ;-)). It is when we take the opportunity to think outside the norm that we discover the truly amazing things. Awesome idea to get the creative juices flowing, thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice idea – a well-rounded challenge. Here’s my attempt:

    We shout

    “trust” then

    none follow

    If this passes as a well-formed matrix, I think there could be a derivation pattern, but will have to test it.

    • I like it! I think it’s interesting, too, how in reading someone else’s matrix poem, it takes me a moment to get my mind out of the meaning and syntax of the first reading and into that of the second. It stretches the brain both for the writer and the reader!

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