Poems with Magnus Byragenflargen - Tyburn
How to Write a Tyburn Poem
A Tyburn poem is a six line poem that is structured around syllable count.Tyburn poems are popular in English literature classes and on the Internet due to their short, concise style. You can create your own Tyburn poem by first learning about the structure of this poetic form and then modeling your Tyburn poem off of example poems.
Drafting the Poem
Understand the syllable count and rhyme scheme of a Tyburn poem.The structure of a Tyburn poem is deceptively simple and requires a good ear for rhyming and syllable count. The six line poem consists of the first four lines that rhyme and are descriptive words. The last two lines of the poem also rhyme and incorporate the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines as the 5th to 8th syllables. The structure of the poem in terms of syllable count is:
- Line 1 - two syllables, descriptive word.
- Line 2 - two syllables, descriptive word.
- Line 3 - two syllables, descriptive word.
- Line 4 - two syllables, descriptive word.
- Line 5 - nine syllables, incorporating the 1st and 2nd lines.
- Line 6 - nine syllables, incorporating the 3rd and 4th lines.
Read example Tyburn poems.There are several example Tyburn poems that you can use as models for your poem, including:
- “Death” by Mike McCann.
- “A Girl” by Julia Ward.
- “Art Work” by Russell Sivey.
Analyze an example Tyburn poem.Take one of the example poems and examine how the poet used the Tyburn structure to create an effective poem. For example, if you analyze “A Girl” by Julia Ward:
- Line 1 - “Pretty”
- Line 2 - “Skippy”
- Line 3 - “Dippy”
- Line 4 - “Lippy”
- Line 5 - “Was the charming, pretty, skippy girl”
- Line 6 - “Caught up in a dippy, lippy whirl?”
- The poet has incorporated the 1st and 2nd lines in the fifth line of the poem, tying the descriptive words to the subject of the poem, the “girl”. The poet then finishes the poem by incorporating the 3rd and 4th lines in the sixth line of the poem, ending on a question about the girl that leaves the reader in a state of wonder about the “girl” of the poem.
- The poet is also able to fulfill the syllable count required for a Tyburn poem and the rhyme scheme for a Tyburn poem, while still creating an effective portrait of the poem’s subject.
Identify the subject or topic of your poem.Start by thinking about who or what you would like to write about in your Tyburn poem. This could be a best friend, your childhood pet, or a more abstract concept like death, life, grief, or pain. Choose a subject that you feel you can write about in a descriptive and concise way, as the Tyburn poem structure is mostly about precision and strong description.
- You may also be assigned a Tyburn poem as part of an English literature class, where you are given a prompt for the poem. If the prompt is to write about someone important in your life, you may choose a family member, a friend, or a mentor. If the prompt is to write about an emotion or feeling, you may choose an emotion you are currently experiencing, like anxiety, joy, boredom, or fear.
List descriptive two syllable words that relate to your subject.A key element of the Tyburn poem is the four descriptive words that will act as the first to fourth lines of the poem and be integrated into the final two lines of the poem. Once you have chosen the subject of your poem, you should brainstorm strong descriptive words that are two syllables long.
- You may want to do this by writing down as many two syllable descriptive words that you can think of in relation to your subject and then highlighting or circling the strongest words. You can then use the strongest word to find words that rhyme with the strongest words, creating your four rhyming two syllable words.
- For example, if your subject is your best friend, you may choose descriptive words like “willful”, “playful”, “wistful”, and “gleeful”.
- If your subject is an emotion like fear, you may choose descriptive words like “blackest”, “darkest”, “saddest”, and “baddest”.
Integrate the descriptive words into the last two lines of the poem.Now that you have your four descriptive rhyming words, you should brainstorm how you are going to use them in the last two lines of your Tyburn poem. You may change up the order of the four descriptive words in your poem based on how you arrange them in the final two lines.
- For example, in your Tyburn poem about your best friend, you may create a fifth line: “She is my best wilful playful friend”. You may then follow this line with the sixth line: “She is my best wistful, gleeful friend”. This means the order of the descriptive words in the poem will need to be: “Wilful, playful, wistful, gleeful”.
- In your Tyburn poem about fear, you may create a fifth line: “Alive like the blackest, darkest night”, followed by a sixth line: “Me, I dread the saddest, baddest sight”. This means the order of the descriptive words in the poem will need to be: “Blackest, darkest, saddest, baddest”.
Create a first draft of the poem.Once you drafted all six lines of the Tyburn poem, you should arrange them in order to create a first draft. Using the poem on “Fear” as an example, the rough draft would look like this:
- “Alive like the blackest, darkest night”
- “Me, I dread the saddest, baddest sight”
Revising the Poem
Write several poems and choose the best one.You may also decide to write several poems of several different subjects or using different sets of descriptive words for the same subject. Writing about fear, for example, you could use several sets of descriptive words to create one to three different poems about fear. You could then evaluate each poem to determine which poem is the strongest one.
- For example, you may have one poem about fear that uses the following descriptive words: "blackest", "darkest", "saddest" and "baddest". You may also have a second poem that uses the following descriptive words: "longest", "strongest", "fondest", and "calmest". You may write a final, third poem using the following descriptive words: "gleeful", "blissful", "careful", and "dreadful".
- You can then analyze each poem, with its respective set of descriptive words, and choose the best one of the three. Consider the type of emotions and feelings associated with your subject and then think about which poem best personifies those feelings or associations. In a poem about fear, for example, you may expect to see descriptive words like "darkest" and "blackest", rather than "fondest" or "calmest". You may choose the poem that uses descriptive words that best fit the subject and communicate the subject well to the reader.
- You may also consider the last two lines of each poem and how effective they are. One poem about fear may end with the two lines:“Alive like the blackest, darkest night/Me, I dread the saddest, baddest sight”. A second version may end with the two lines: "Ready for the longest, strongest night/Me, I dread the fondest, calmest sight". While the structure of the two sets of end lines are very similar, the first set of lines contain descriptive words that better fit the subject of fear and leave the reader with a sense of fear and dread.
Read the poem out loud for flow and rhyme.The Tyburn poem can be very appealing when read out loud so ask a friend or partner to be your audience and read your rough draft to them. Ask them to give you any notes on flow and rhyme, ensuring that you are using the correct number of syllables for every line and each line follows the rhyme scheme.
- For example, you may read your poem about your best friend out loud and find that some of the lines do not flow well or sound awkward out loud. You may then edit it to make it sound more musical. Your revised poem may look like:
- “Always my dear wilful, wistful friend”
- “With me til the playful, gleeful end”
Ask someone to give you feedback on the poem.Another reader can also help to improve your poem, especially a classmate who is also writing a Tyburn poem for class or a mentor who is familiar with this poetic style.
- Offer to trade poems with a classmate or someone who is also working on a Tyburn poem, offering notes and suggestions on how to make it better. You can also submit a draft of your poem to your teacher or mentor for review before you create a final draft of the poem.
Create a final draft of the poem.Once you receive feedback on your poem and have revised your rough draft, you are ready to create a final draft of your Tyburn poem.
- It can be helpful to read your final draft out loud as well to ensure the poem rhymes properly and flows well.
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