On Saturday, May 21, 2011, Robert Mezey sent me an email that read in part, “Among other things, I wanted … to tell you about a strange new form, new to me though perhaps not to you — in the May issue of The New Criterion (http://www.newcriterion.com/currentissue.cfm) is a poem [titled ‘Illustration from Parsifal’] by a guy named Richie Hofmann, in which each couplet “rhymes” with an anagram: study/dusty, scarlet/claret, spread/drapes, etc.”
As soon as I had read his fine poem I looked Mr. Hofmann up on Facebook and asked him whether he had invented the rhyming system or gotten it from somewhere else. He replied,
“Dear Mr. Turco,
“I am thrilled to hear from you. The Book of Forms has been a wonderful teacher to me.
“I would be honored if you'd be interested to reprint "Illustration from Parsifal," or part of the poem, in the new edition of The Book of Forms.
“I chose to write the poem in anagrams in honor of James Merrill, whose book collection is referenced in the poem. I was very fortunate to catalogue JM's personal library in Stonington last summer.
“The only examples I know of the anagram rhyme scheme are "The Landing" by J. D. McClatchy (“The Rest of the Way”) and "Heron" from Randall Mann's Complaint in the Garden, which the author alerted me to after he saw the poem in TNC.
I replied, Thanks for getting back to me. I would have loved to reprint your poem if I'd gotten it in time. For the past couple of years I've been looking for and advertising about contributions to my collection of "Odd and Invented Forms." But it has been put to bed now and will be published as part of The Book of Forms, Fourth Edition in the fall. I'm waiting for page proofs. About all I can hope for is to get a one-line definition into the glossary, and even that is problematic.
My best, and thanks for the information.
And I wrote to my editor at The University Press of New England: I know it's very late, but is there any way we can sneak a short new definition into the glossary? I just heard of it:
“Anagram rhyme is rhyming a word with a word or words made from the same letters.”
“Yes, I can still (just!) add the new definition to the glossary. I'll use the wording you've supplied, unless you tell me otherwise.”
The description is to be found on page 71 of The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, Including Odd and Invented Forms, Revised and Expanded Edition by Lewis Putnam Turco, Hanover, NH: University Press of New England (www.UPNE.com) , 2012 • 384 pp. 3 illus. 5 x 7 1/2" Reference & Bibliography / Poetry 978-1-61168-035-5, paperback.
I began writing poems utilizing anagram rhyme including a terzanelle titled “Tempi,” and this one, "A Midsummer Night's Partsong," which has since been published in Joseph S. Salemi's fine periodical called Trinacria which is devoted to poems written in forms, Issue No. 6, Fall 2011 (Feb. 2012), p. 11:
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S PARTSONG
A terza-anagram-rima sonnet
I once upon a time could bend an elbow
With any fellow. None of us refused
To take or bestow a round. I’ve lain below
Many a friendly table till morning freed us
And we were able to forsake the nomad lees
Of dead soldiers. But time is a defuser,
And all we’re up to now are lemonades —
We may no longer debauch with Oberon
And quaff the flagons containing his demon ales
Of which he was the liberal midnight booner.
We learned to tame the bladder and the bowel:
Now our recusal means he won’t reboon.
Our partsong has become a used etude
And fades at dusk now into desuetude.
by Wesli Court
Dear Lew —
I haven't done anything of note with this one (the anagram / rhyme-words) though it's an engaging challenge. You might enjoy this attempt:
Fable of a Princess Who Found Religion and Went West
She swapped her tiara
for a riata
while tending her foals.
Feeding her dog
she mused on God
and dropped her opal
in the Alpo.
For whatever reason, this exercise made me remember my limericks with eye-rhymes. I don't think I ever shared them with you:
There was an old man with an ague
Who suffered so badly, san blague,
That the doc called it dropsy
But in the autopsy
They found he had died of the plague.
I know a young woodsman so tough
There's no forest he cannot cut through;
He arrives back in camp
Scratched and bloodied and damp,
And when co-workers clap, takes a bough.
A charming young woman named Lea
when vacation arrived, shouted "Yea!"
Now she's off to the ocean
with some kind of notion
of tanning herself by the sea.
A farmer who lived near the slough
said, "I'm waiting till I get some dough;
then I'll set off to sea
for I have an idea...
I can't think when I'm tied to a plough."
There are more, but this is enough to give an idea —
Ruth L. Harrison
May I put these on my blog, Ruth? I once did something like your limericks:
There once was a woman named Blanche
Who started a small avalanche,
For she was so proud
That she shouted aloud
When she married a noble Comanche.
Ho! Good limerick — I like what happens to Comanche in it!
As for the anagram rhyme and the limericks, you're very welcome to add them to the blog.
I was much impressed with what you've done with anagrams in the poem you attached. You've made the darned things work as poetry, not just an amusing toss-off, as I tried to do-- but the real thing, so that it becomes a legitimate form. I must try harder, I guess. Or more seriously.