06 August 2012

Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge: Challenge #6 --- Pleiades

Welcome, poets, to week six of the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge. So far in the challenge we’ve worked to combine some of the fundamental elements of poetry like rhyme and meter and play with gradually lengthening forms like haiku and sonnets. This week, we’re going to work with both a new element and a new form: the alliterative Pleiades poem.

The OLJ Poetry Form Challenge #6: Pleiades

Defining it

Let’s start with alliteration. Alliteration is not all that difficult to understand; it is simply the use of the same sound at the beginning of a series of words. A more technical definition (courtesy of Wikipedia) says that alliteration is “the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of a series of words or phrases.” One of my favorite examples of alliteration (only because it was drilled into my brain in my first undergraduate English class) is found in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, when Juliet says, “I’ll look to like if looking liking move” (1.3.97). There are actually a few different forms alliteration can take (like assonance and consonance), but for the sake of our task this week, all you need to worry about is having the same letter at the start of a series of words.

If you understand alliteration, you’ll probably have little trouble understanding the Pleiades poem. As you may have guessed, the Pleiades is named for the astronomical Seven Sisters star cluster. The numerical implications, paired with the alliterative nature of the star cluster’s name, should give you a few hints about the rules of this form:

1. A Pleiades poem consists of seven lines
2. The title is (usually) only one word (some concessions have been made over time with the form that allow for "a few" words in the title, but it’s the first word that counts)
3. The first letter of each line is the same as the first letter of the title (thus, a downwards alliterative pattern)

That’s about all there is to this form; there is no rhyme scheme, and no metrical pattern to follow. Since it is still a relatively new form---it was created in 1999 by Craig Tigerman---there’s a lot of wriggle room for you to play with what happens beyond those basic form rules.

Doing it

Your challenge this week is simply to write a Pleiades poem. The only rules for this challenge are: follow the basic rules stated above, and have fun with it. See what you can do with this relatively new, fairly simple, all-doors-open form!

Fun it up!

You know the drill! For a chance to be this week’s featured poet, submit your poem (or poems---feel free to share several) by 10pm EDT on Thursday (8-9). You can submit via the comment box below, in an email (ourlostjungle@kharahouse.com), or by sharing a link to your own blog in the comments or an email. You can post as many attempts as you’d like. Also be sure to show some love to folks who are sharing here or who provide links—I’m sure they’d appreciate your kind feedback!

Good luck!


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Join in the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge!


  1. In a passionate but private moment…

    Insulated from the world
    I sing a silent song of ancient words.
    Is informing all my thoughts.
    Images dance by to the ardent music, but like
    Icarus, they fall too soon back to earth.


    1. wow! like icarus is a great line and i love the first line, too. LOVE!

    2. Excellent one, as usual, RJ. Hard to follow that one.

    3. oh, yes, Rj...those last two lines rock!

  2. Jalousies

    Just small louvered windows
    Jutting out, or sometimes tilting in.
    Jeopardous, they are not (at least, usually.)
    Juxtaposed on walls with much larger portals, they appear quite
    Juvenile, and even
    Jazzy...but interestingly,
    Jean Paul Sartre considered them rather existential (especially in Venice) too.


    1. you even managed to use Sartre in this? wow again. i remember reading your stuff on the April PAD. love your work.

    2. You realize, don't you, RJ, that you're leaving me in the dust here. Love it.

  3. SAGE

    Sage; a worthy soul goal
    Solid, yet pliable in the artistic hands of God
    Strength transcending pain
    Silent evolution enduring decades
    Soul Schools have teachers of many talents
    Seven Sisters; Pleiades
    Six of the stars are visible to the human eye

    1. way to use the inspiration as part of your poem!

  4. Here's mine!


    ~Misky xx

    1. Darn. Try again.
      <a href="http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/olj-poetry-form-challenge-breathe/> http://miskmask.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/olj-poetry-form-challenge-breathe/ </a>

    2. It looks like you're just missing the quote at the end of the URL in the html code, Misky :) It's a pain in the keester, isn't it?!

  5. Breathe

    Born, I was, on the backend of a hot autumn day,
    Blossoming scents of moulding leaves that
    Billowed heavy in the air. A walk, she took,
    Bird song deafening dark crisp notes of
    Brackish crunch under heel, and Mum
    Brought me, coaxed me, from my warm
    Blackened home into the light of poetry.

    1. Beautiful, my friend. It rolls off the tongue so easily. A pleasure to experience.

    2. into the light of poety....love than line

    3. Really nice. I've always wanted to put the name "mum" in a poem. Thanks for the newborn ride.

    4. love that first line - the backend of an autumn day!

  6. The title gave me troubles. But I used it anyway.

    --Obiter dictum--

    ONCE, and this was long ago, when
    OUR marriage was still very young--
    ONE day of its infancy, those years
    ONE can still decide to quit "Not
    OUR time; no one's failure or fault;
    ONLY" they can still say " one of those things--
    ONCE we camped on Assateague among stallions.

    1. Oh, good one, Barbara. I like your use of caps to accentuate each line as its own story. So enjoyed this.

    2. I like the style. It seems very laid back, like sitting and having a conversation with a friend, and then the last line comes on strong. Nice.

    3. love how you used the words of every fairy tale to write this one!

  7. This is my first little attempt. We'll see what happens in a while during the second.


    When apples turn
    Wormy and rot,
    Wonderment wends
    Willfully into the mind;
    Waffle thin, pervasive,
    Wailing above wind’s song
    Within snowflakes en masse.

    1. I always loved the alliteration of "w". It repeats so gently.

  8. “Wished love”

    Where can we find the template for love?
    Why does it hide within the soft
    wishes and whispers of angels? I am no
    wiser today than yesterday and
    we are no closer this night to wedded
    wealth. It must take more than mere
    words to fashion a union. But, what?

    1. Such a lovely piece that speaks to that episode which seems to happen everyone's life at one point or another.

      Good one. Really like it.

    2. Humour, I reckon, that's what. :D Love your poem.

    3. There are so many good lines here. How do you keep hitting home runs?

    4. Thanks guys, but I think everyone hit home runs this week!

  9. woman

    water trails water, blurring,
    washing the pane.
    when did I become this sedentary thing?
    watcher out of windows,
    wounded and unwound, hands in my lap
    wet with salted

    1. Oh, Barbara, so sad and so reflective. Do we not all have moments as this woman who sits observing the world through panes that separate us from others of like dilemma? We forget that panes can be opened and hands extended to those in need of soothing.

      I like this piece, even as it brings me to sadness.

    2. This is very fine, Barbara. You capture a very human moment in time with perfect flowing lines. "...watcher out of windows,//wounded and unwound, hands in my lap//wet with salted//water." This is well above common poetry. Though there is very good poetry on this page this week from others, your "woman" gets my vote for best in word wizardry. Fantastic.

    3. so sad but very well-written

  10. http://www.mapoetpoems.blogspot.com (If this link doesn't work, click on my name)

  11. Ok. This was hard and this probably isn't very good. But damn it, I wrote something today so I am posting. :-)


    So they named this open star cluster Pleiades, the
    sailing one, flock of doves. The seven brightest
    stars are named for the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology.
    Studies show they all move in the same direction across the
    sky at the same rate. She had to laugh at that. It just seems
    so silly to her, the youngest of six, knowing how they all sought
    separate paths, each seeking their own way to shine.

  12. Jazzetry

    Just hearing that music play--no
    jitterbug tones this time, no horns, no
    jug band drumming, no heavy fingers
    jamming the keyboard, just the sad sigh of
    Johnny's sax told me, before any syllables
    joined to make words, the poem would be a tear-
    jerker, creeping in my ears and out my eyes.

    1. Love the title, the sad sigh of the sax and the last line. Well done, Linda!

    2. Thanks, Michelle. I love jazz and poetry so jazzetry seemed the perfect subject.

  13. this isn't an entry, Khara...just being silly now


    Forgive me for
    falling flat,
    failing to start with
    F for each and every line
    for the English language
    feed us sounds with
    phonetic twists and turns.

  14. OK. My Pleiades is here. Hope this link works. I'm digging all the poems here.

  15. “Loathing”

    Last night, in the crushing bleakness of another
    late night headache under the sheets, I tasted a
    long forgotten nightmare between the pages of a
    leftover novel. Under my bed hid Heathcliff, a
    lowly scoundrel, a matted louse with eyes that
    liken to eels and lichen, playing lord with each
    life he destroys in revenge for his lover’s death.

  16. Now that I know who Icarus was (I had to look it up) I agree, it's a great last line.

    1. That comment was suppose to go all the way up to the top for RJ.

  17. So many great poems this week, folks! Thank you all for sharing--I just couldn't resist letting you all know how fabulous I think you all are! Stay tuned ... the challenge's featured poem(s? ooooh!) will go live tomorrow!

    1. Khara,
      Thanks for taking the time to tune in and turn us on to the many terrific poetic topics today and yesterday and all the days before. Alliteratively yours, Kris

    2. Thanks, Kris. That truly means a lot!


Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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