whitman-2033-5e85a780991cf80bddfa412174d63cf9@1x       Rattle Literary Journal

published a winning poem today, “DRPK   US” written in a Twin Cinema poetic form.  While I have read poems before that can be read horizontally or vertically, I’ve not seen such a structuring before nor seen a label for this form.

In The Straits Times, writer Olivia Ho writes that a Twin Cinema poem is:

It is a poem written in two columns. Sometimes, the columns are meant to be read individually, running line by line in counterpoint.

But I find it at its most compelling when the poet achieves not just two, but three ways of reading it, not just top to bottom, but also across, a poem at once broken and unbroken, reaching across the gaps to put a new twist on opposing meanings.

In a blog about Southeast Asian Poetic Forms (find it here: Southeast Asian Poetic Forms

notes that:

In its original form as developed by Yeow Kai Chai, the twin cinema consisted of two discrete columns of poetry. The columns were separate and did not read as a coherent line across both columns. Each individual line of a column contained imagery that could correlate or contrast to the opposing line of the other column.

I love this playing with both the oral aspects of poetry and the physical/ white space aspects.

I’ve written specular poems, or sometimes called mirror poems that read as poems from the first to the last line and then from the last to the first line.  That was tricky and worthwhile; both versions of the poem need to make grammatical, syntactical, and poetic sense.

What verse forms have you tried? What’s your favorite?

Thanks for reading.

Laura Lee

2 thoughts on “Twin Cinema Poetic Form

  1. This sounds interesting and like a puzzle one needs to figure out. I think I will try to write one myself.

    I went through a period when I was obsessed with pantoums. I still find the pantoum compelling when well-written.

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