Folding Mirror Poetry Article

Back in 2010 I wrote an article for Suite 101 on types of Folding Mirror poems. That article is now available to publish here, and is posted below. Hopefully it might inspire you to write one?

Poetry Research Offers Clues to How Forms Evolve

The Folding Mirror poetry form calls for two halves of a poem to mirror each other either side of a folding middle line. The Palindrome form had previously called for two halves of a poem to mirror each other, but there was no middle line to link them; instead, there was a gap between the two mirroring halves. Since the fmpoetry website was set up there have been over seventy Folding Mirror poems published on the site. After a prompt from Caroline Gill, research was undertaken into how the middle line has been used in this new form: to identify whether poets isolated the middle lines or used them to link the two halves of the poem.

Did the Folding Middle Line Stand Alone or Link the Two Halves of Poetry?

Analysis of the seventy-six Folding Mirror poems on the fmpoetrywebsite at the time of the research found that:

  • fifty-one had the middle line dividing the two halves of the poem
  • twenty-five used the middle line to link the two halves.

The Stand Alone Folding Middle Line Poems

An example of a middle line standing alone is found in Sarah James’s Caved poem. The last line of the top half of the poem ends in a full stop, the middle line stands alone and the first line of the bottom half of the poem starts with a capital letter:

night, keep my wings hidden.

Unhinged by symmetry or hinged by unsymmetry…

My flightless wings hide me.

Another example is found in the centre of Norman Bissett’s The Grand Old Duke Of York poem:

are ours in abundance.

With the passing years, spirits droop, limbs become leaden.

Weighed down by an excess

The Linking Middle Line Poems

Of the twenty-five middle lines that linked the two halves of the poems, eighteen were full links between the top half and the bottom.

An example of this is the middle of Zoya Gautam’s Priestess poem:

cloistered priestess of the night

embracing darkness

in the scent of her silence

Of the other seven poems, three had the top half of the poem linking with the middle line and a full stop at its end, before the bottom half of the poem starts anew. An example of this is Wendy Webb’sConstitutional Crisis poem:

Martyr him in column ink, for it is better that

one should be sacrificed for the people.

Martyr him in column ink, for it is better than;

Four poems had the top half of the poem ending with a full stop just before the middle line, and then the folding middle line starting the second half of the poem. An example of this is Claire Knight’s Summer Garden poem:

as light breeze dances.

Fragrant blooms of roses scent the warm day

as light breeze dances,

Conclusion

About two-thirds of the Folding Mirror poems had the middle folding line of the poem as a stand alone, while about one-third had the folding middle line linking the two halves in some way. The results of the research will hopefully give inspiration to poets interested in the form, and more Folding Mirror poems will be created.Image

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