It’s time for me to switch my poetic styles this month. The winter is dragging on, and I wanted to jazz things up a bit. I came across the Bop Poetry style and thought it sounded interesting. Afaa Michael Weaver created this style at an African American poetry retreat at Cave Canem. I love the simplicity of this verse style because the rules are very simple. There is no thyme structure, and the stanzas are unmetered. I call this Bop Poem Postman.
The simple rules of Bop Poetry and Postman
The poem is three stanzas long.
The first stanza is six lines long and lays out a problem.
The second stanza is eight lines long and explores or expands the problem.
The third stanza is six lines long and gives a solution or failed attempt at resolution of the problem,
There is a short refrain between the stanzas.
I think this style will be fun to explore. You are welcome to join me while I explore this poetic style. I’m not certain if I can pull off this switch. It is challenging to come up with a new poem every day. I hope you have as much fun reading these attempts as I am writing them now if I can only capture the laid-back feel of the Bop in Postman.
Postman I got your letter──but I don’t want to play The role of your postman─ Because you know people Like to shoot the messenger When the message is no good. I don’t want to hold your loaded gun when I should turn and run. I know you got angry But you need to think about How you were the one who committed The crime─a simple breaking and entering─ Then you went away From a situation that needed fixing And you were the one holding the tools While playing all of us for fools I don’t want to hold your loaded gun when I should turn and run. This is the only advice I can give to you Let sleeping dogs lie in a red room They have a tendency to bite When waken from a bad dream Especially if you were the one Who put them to sleep. I don’t want to hold your loaded gun when I should turn and run.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
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