Short Poems: Mini, micro, and nano?

So far, I have illustrated a number of epigrams (traditionally a two line poem with title) and one haiku (traditionally a three line poem with a set number of syllables and a title), but as a person who studies microscopic things for a living, I was curious to see how minimal poetry could go. Without further ado, I present the monostich:

Thecathedralis“The Cathedral is” by John Ashbery (b. 1927), photographs (of the Pooh Stump at Harvard) and composition by me.


“Coward” by A.R. Ammons (1926-2001), photograph and composition by me.  A monostich is a single line poem with or without a title. It is fascinating to think of what constitutes a “minimal set” of characteristics or requirements for a poem – does a single line suffice? How many words to we need? Can symbols replace words? Terry Ehret used an Egyptian hieroglyph as the title of one of her prose-poems:

papyrus_cropExcerpt from [Papyrus] by Terry Ehret, from Lost Bodies. Here the title is replaced by a symbol and begins her prose-poem that interprets it.  Can a title with a symbol be a poem?

Poem (if you will), drawing of the international symbol for “caustic chemical” (ink on paper), by me.  Do extremely short poems live at the intersection of poetry and art?


    1. Thank you for the ping-back! I am a big fan short poetry and so I am excited to have found your blog – I am looking forward to reading your posts! Cheers!


Comments are closed.