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Poetry: July 10, 2013 Issue [#5771]

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 This week: The Bop: a Brief History and Overview
  Edited by: RedWritingHood♡WDC
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Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

"Poetry is the step beyond, which we were about to take, but were not certain of the way."

Carleton Noyes

”And thus there can be little doubt that in the union of Poetry with Music in its popular sense we shall find the widest field for the Poetic development. ”
Edgar Allan Poe

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Letter from the editor

The Bop Poetry Form: a Brief History and Overview

I was first drawn to the bop poetry form because it made me think about music and dancing. While researching the form I was drawn further to it because of its initial use as a poetry writing exploratory tool. Now, I think it’s just plain fun to play with the form.


The Bop was created by Michael S. Weaver (aka Afaa Michael Weaver) in 1997. As mentioned above, he invented the form for his students for poetry practice. The name of the poetry form came from a word used around the area he grew up in Baltimore. “[B]op referred to the way a man in particular walked down the street. It was his signature to the world!” Mr. Weaver continues with, “[a]s a poetic form the bop may be seen as the way a poet presents himself or herself to the world as a performance” (Wiggerman and Meischen, 190).


I found two variations of the bop. There is the original 3 stanza bop and the 4 stanza variation. Each type of bop utilizes a repeated line after each stanza.

*Standard Bop*

--Three stanzas. The first and third stanzas are six lines, and the second stanza is eight lines. There is a line repeated after each stanza for a total of 23 lines.
--Topic should either argue an issue or celebrate something (person, place, thing, emotion, etcetera). The stanzas progress the topic. The first stanza states the issue or the object of celebration. The second explores the issue or object of celebration. The final stanza resolves the issue or is the celebration of the object in progress.
--The repeated line can be “taken from popular music or created by the poet” (Wiggerman and Meischen, 190). See ‘OF NOTE’ section for more on this.

*Extended Bop Variation*

--Four stanzas. The first, third, and fourth stanzas are six lines each, and the second stanza is eight lines. There is a line repeated after each stanza for a total of 30 lines.
--The topic of the extended bop tends to argue an issue. Just as in the standard bop, the stanzas progress the topic. The first stanza states the issue. The second explores the issue. The third stanza tries to resolve the issue. The final stanza then notes that the issue is not resolved.
--Just as in the standard bop, the repeated line can be “taken from popular music or created by the poet” (Wiggerman and Meischen, 190). See ‘OF NOTE’ section for more on this.


--Any rhyme scheme, including no rhyme scheme.
--Any meter, including no set meter.


There are two things you want to keep in mind. In any poetry using a refrain, the poet wants it to make an impact. Think carefully about what line you want repeating through your bop. Next, if you use a line from music that isn’t in the public domain, be careful about copyright laws. In the public domain or not, please remember to cite your source. This is a non-issue when the repeated line is from your own creation.


Wiggerman, Scott, and David Meischen. Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry. 1st. Austin, TX: Dos Gatos Press, 2011. Print.

One of Mr. Weaver's bops for an example: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/22359

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Editor's Picks

Theme: A variety of bops, and alas no bop poetry forms.

Looking for Hale Bopp  [ASR]
... in search of a second-rate comet
by Cappucine

 Hale-Bop  [13+]
Leon and I watch the night sky.
by Harlow Flick

 The Shoe Bop  [E]
The shoes keep getting a child in trouble with the messes they leave.
by Shaara

 Jazz Sugar  [E]
a memory of a springtime jazz concert under the stars
by ridinghhood--p. boutilier

 Invalid Item  []

by A Guest Visitor

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Comments on last month's newsletter:

By: mkivad
Comment: Thanks again for your newsletter. And of course I won't forget to support your sponsor. I'm sure your sponsor will support me should the opportunity arise.

By: EmilyC
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Comment: This was a great article! I love the somonka form and have had an attempt. It would be great to have feedback or just to see others' somonka poems!

By: Marci Missing Everyone
Comment: I really enjoy learning new forms of poetry. I am going to give this Somonka a try. I'll send a link back if I post it.

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