Tag Archives: poetry research

How The Folding Middle Line Has Been Used in 76 Poems

Central to the Folding Mirror in more ways than one is the Folding Mirror line. After a conversation with Caroline Gill about its importance I decided to analyse how the Folding Middle line has been used in the poems on this site. That conversation went something like this:

Caroline: I have just been reading an excellent Palindromic poem. It was very like a Folding Mirror poem in structure, but without the pivotal Folding Mirror line. It made me wonder, Marc, how you would begin to express that extra something that the FM line gives to a piece. It would be great to have some clarification here.

Marc: On the relevance of the FM middle, I think the folding middle line clarifies the importance and relevance of the dividing object or idea. For example, if the Hadrian’s Wall poem hadn’t had reference to the wall in the middle it may just have been seen as a general nature/myth poem that could have been anywhere in the region, but expressly having reference to the wall signifies its centrality to the poem. I guess it depends how much you want to leave to the imagination? With my FMs the middle line is also often a symbolic representative for the poem’s main physical/visual/conceptual focus: as with Hadrian’s Wall; or the equator, Earth’s surface, horizon, Saturn’s rings etc.
When I researched the 76 Folding Mirror poems on the site I found that 51 had the middle line dividing the two halves of the poem, while 25 used the middle line to link the two halves.

Of the 25 that linked the two halves, 18 were full links between the top half and the bottom. All but one went vertically down, with To Heaven or Hell the odd one out, as it started in the middle and then linked to the two halves above and below.

Of the other 7, three had the link ending at the middle line, while four had the link starting at the middle line.

Thanks to Caroline for the question and inspiring the research into how the Folding Mirror form has been used so far, and hope it interests you.