Abecedarians (Form Study)

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Let’s explore abecedarians. Don’t try writing these unless you’re prepared to write them non-stop. They truly do get into your blood. Brief info below.

(Remember to supplement this initial post with examples, more info on the form, and discussion or analysis. Let’s share our findings.)

Abecedarians make use of all letters of the alphabet.

The most familiar abecedarian sentences are:

1. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
2. Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

(every letter of the alphabet is used, but not in order)

Abecedarian Info & Examples
Related to acrostic, a poem in which the first letter of each line or stanza follows sequentially through the alphabet. See Jessica Greenbaum, “A Poem for S.” Tom Disch’s “Abecedary” adapts the principles of an abecedarian poem, while Matthea Harvey’s “The Future of Terror/The Terror of Future” sequence also uses the alphabet as an organizing principle. Poets who have used the abecedarian across whole collections include Mary Jo Bang, in The Bride of E, and Harryette Mullen, in Sleeping with the Dictionary.

Some use an “a to z” strategy and some use a “z to a” strategy (the latter type use all letters of the alphabet, starting with the last one and ending with the first one).