Blogging, Books, Current Events, Poetry, Writing

One Word Poems and Practical Cats

Today’s poetic form is just one word, or rather one word poems. I focus on one specific one word poem while listing a couple others as well here, so you can pick and choose which one you want to try, or attempt all. While there might always be debates about certain types of poems being poetry really, what I do know that each and every one does ask us to open up our minds, be creative, and see what we can do with words. So yes, it is worth it, no matter what we might think it really is. What do you think?

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One Word Poems

The moment I read Bob Raczka’s Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, I knew I had to try writing an one word poem soon. I also knew that this would be the form for the letter ‘O’. (This also means that, yes, I don’t have my posts planned or scheduled ahead of the challenge, though I plan to each and every year)…

Anyways, what I need to talk about is one word poems. Looking for one word poems on the internet led me to a couple of different interesting poetic forms actually. So I will briefly explain each one here before moving on to the main type of one word poems – used by Bob Raczka (inspired by Andrew Russ’s one-word poems).

One Word Poems (With Long Titles)

Reference: Hole Ousia –> from POTH – One-Word Poems (Poor.Old.Tired.Horse – btw, I am glad I stumbled upon this visual poetry magazine that was published from 1962 – 67. You can read the issues here at UduWeb)

These poems are one word poems with titles as long as you wish them to be! Kind of like a Jeopardy question being the title, and the one-word poem that follows being the answer. Or a reverse dictionary of sorts. You can look at excellent examples in the links provided earlier (Issue 25 of POTH – also linked here, and the reference link above).

As for my attempts, I am working on them!


A pwoermd is an untitled one-word poem where the poem is its own title and text. One cool apt word that is visually and literally itself. Coined in 1987 by Geof Huth, the name is a combination of “poem” and “word”. In an interview, Huth says this of the pwoermd: “A pwoermd…. is all smallness.. a spark to make the imagination move.” Another pwoermd-er equates writing these poems to origami, where you fold, bend, crease the words to turn them into something else, while yet being the word itself.

You can find many examples of pwoermds here (Geof Huth’s page from what I can see), when you google it, or also on this FB page dedicated to it here.

My Attempts



One Word Poems (Poems Squeezed From One Word)

  1. Choose one word.
  2. Make a list of words derived from the chosen word.
  3. Use as many of those words in any order or arrangement you can to write a poem
  4. To actually write the poem, you can simply write down the words like you do normally, but to add to the challenge, and to enhance the effect, do this first (like in Bob Raczka’s book)
  5. Line up the letters of the words (in the order you want them to appear in the poem) vertically under the same letter in the title/chosen word. This might lead to spaces between letters in the word, and sometimes a word continues across one or more lines so that the letters can actually spell the words.
    • This not only creates an interesting visual effect, but also shows how all the letters for the words in the poem are taken directly from the title/chosen word.

My Attempt

I tried a couple and just posted one here .. need to rework this one a bit and work on the others as well some more, but it is fun.

M o t h e r
M o
m –

M e –
M o r
H e r!
~ vidya tiru @ LadyInReadWrites




For the NaPoWriMo Day 18 Prompt

Today’s  prompt is to provide 5 answers to a single question without revealing the question. Can you guess the questions for the two poems below? Also, don’t forget to read Faisal Mohyuddin’s poem “Five Answers to the Same Question” that prompted this prompt!

five answers to a question<3
my children;
darling husband too;
visiting friends, family;

~vidya tiru @ ladyinreadwrites

five answers to another question 🙂
the dishes!
wash, dry, sort, and fold!
sweep-mop likely haunted floors!

~vidya tiru @ ladyinreadwrites

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The Books

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Title: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
Author: T. S. Eliot
Illustrator: Edward Gorey
Publishers: Harcourt Brace and Company (and various other editions/publishers)
Genre: Poetry For All Ages

These loveable cat poems were written by T.S. Eliot for his godchildren and friends in the thirties. They have delighted generations of children since, and inspired Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brilliant musical Cats.

I read Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, which turned out to be a delightfully f(el)ine read, a few years ago. While I mentioned the book a couple of times on the blog, I never really reviewed it.

Totally charming, always joyous, and so very clever too. It is hard to pick a favorite, for the moment I decide it is Macavity the Mystery Cat or The Rum Tum Tugger, I think it has to be Mr. Mistoffelees! So, yes, I think I love each and every one of these poems (and I am not really a cat person!)

I love how Eliot maintains the perfect balance between excellent poem-ing (wordplay, rhyme and rhythm, meter and more) and the utter playfulness and sparkle of the poems and their subjects! While I have never watched Cats (the good, bad, or ugly versions), I want to at least listen to the songs now. Yes, this book inspired the musical.

Last but not least, Edward Gorey’s illustrations!! They are so full of character and detail. Love them.

In Summary

Read it now, read it out loud, alone or with family. You can read it online at the Archive or get a copy for yourself (I know I will simply for the whole package that delights)

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear readers, have you read the featured book? Or any similar reads? I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. What do you think about the one word poetic form? Will you write one yourself?

For previous posts in the challenges for this month, check out the links below:

Day 0  Day 1 – A  Day 2 – B  Day 3  Day 4 – C  Day 5 – D  Day 6 – E  Day 7 – F  Day 8 – G Day 9 – H Day 10 Day 11 – I Day 12 – J Day 13 – K Day 14 – L Day 15 – M Day 16 – N Day 17

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

7 thoughts on “One Word Poems and Practical Cats

  1. Really enjoyed reading your post, didn’t realize there were soooo many ways to write poetry, will have to give the one word poetry a go, looks like fun!

  2. Those are quite different forms of poetry. Never heard of that before and it would certainly take some thinking to generate some single words. As a cat lover, I am all for that Book of Practical Cats!

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