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?