The acrostic poetry form is fun and easy to learn. For this reason it is very popular in elementary and middle school poetry programs. The key to the form is that the first letters of the first words of every line in the poem come together to spell out a word or phrase — generally the overall subject of the poem. For example:


Squid, eel and tuna
Upon a bed of rice
Sit ready to be eaten
Happily by those who can stand

There are very few other requirements to the form. Acrostic poems don’t normally rhyme, which can be a relief for teachers and can help prepare students for less lyrical forms such as blank verse and free verse. The form still requires students to think about language and word choice without having to rely on rhyme or meter. Because the form has a reputation as a beginner’s or children’s form, it is not commonly taught at the college level and is rarely used by published poets, but it is an excellent introduction to the world of poetry.

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