Acrostic (uh-krahss-tik) poems are a fun poetic form of writing in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or phrase. The word “acrostic” comes from the French “acrostiche”, which has descended from an ancient Greek phrase meaning “highest, or topmost verse.”

Acrostic poems are easy to write because unlike typical poetry, the sentences don’t need to rhyme and each line can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Acrostic poems may be written in meter or in free verse. Acrostic poems are most commonly used to spell out names and are a great way to describe the persona or personality of a person.

Here is one we wrote about an athletic colleague named Maya:

Mischievous
Artistic
Youthful
Athlete

And, here is a tongue-in-cheek one we wrote about exams (sorry, parents and teachers!):

Endless suffering
Xtreme anxiety
Agony and
Mental torture ending in
Scoldings!

As you can see, some lines have a phrase and some have only one word. We even used short forms of words. One can be as creative as one wants to with an acrostic poem. The sky's the limit!

So, how to write an acrostic poem? To begin, write the word (or words) for which you want to create an acrostic poem vertically, with each letter on a new line, one below the other. Next, think of words or phrases starting with each letter. If the words or phrases closely describe or are closely related to the main word, the more meaningful your poem will be (see the one we wrote about exams!)

Acrostic poems are an easy method to bring in a comedic effect in one's writing. They also help to add a new dimension to a poem or other text. They are also a great literary tool to transform a poem or prose into a word puzzle.

Acrostic poems are a very easy (and super fun!) way to add variety and interest in your writing. They can be used just about anywhere - stories, brochures, flyers, newsletters and so on.

There are various types of acrostic poems with more specialized locations of the letters that spell out the main word or phrase

Check the following categories to know more.

1. Telestich:

An acrostic in which the last letters of each line spell a word or message.

Eg:

Lost in endless wanderings,

what new sign and pattern

will I find in crystalline subzero

embroidery frosting my window

~ by Pyragus

2. Mesostic:

An acrostic in which the middle letters of words or lines form a word or message.

Eg:

The

mInutes

Merge

sEamlessly

3. Double Acrostic:

An acrostic in which words are spelled by both the first and last letters of each line, so that one word can be read vertically down the left side of the poem and another word can be read vertically down the right side of the poem. Here is one about an English town named Stroud, located at the meeting point of the Five Valleys and known for its steep streets.

Eg:

Set among hills in the midst of five valleys,

This peaceful little market town we inhabit

Refuses (vociferously!) to be a conformer.

Once home of the cloth it gave its name to,

Uphill and down again its streets lead you.

Despite its faults it leaves us all charmed.

~by Paul Hansford

4. Abecedarian:

An acrostic that, instead of spelling a word, spells the entire alphabet. This type of acrostic may also be referred to as an abecedarius.

Eg:

Amazing how the pearls are flung

Before the swine these days, and I

Can hardly understand any

Decision to do so by otherwise

Enterprising individuals.

Funny how the swine devour the

Gifts of insincere folks who cast

Handfuls of nuggets their wayFunny how the swine devour the

Ingratiating them, while

Judging them unfit or unworthy,

Keeping them in the pigsty

Languishing, denying them upward

Mobility and almost

Never allowing them to fling

Open their gates and

Put their feet on earth’s upper crust.

Quite honestly,

Riches and fame and eventual

Success are denied the swine

Too often,

Until measuring their worth in

Various cuts of meat,

While standing before the butcher’s

X-rated slabs of raw cuts

Yes, waiting to be sold like pieces of

Zombies, dead and slowly rotting.

~by L Milton Hankins

Last but certainly not the least, acrostic poems are one of the easiest ways to create poems of your own. Give it a try and see what you can come up with!

A- Amazingly

C -Creative way to

R -Represent your

O -Originality with

S -Simplicity

T -Thoughtfulness

I -Interest and

C -Charisma


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