Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beautiful Inlaw

Not to be confused with the "Beautiful Outlaw," the "Beautiful Inlaw" is a restriction under which a writer may only compose using the letters already found in a given source text–i.e., a person’s name. The fewer letters in the source text, the more maddening the compositional process.

The poem below was written using only letters from the name of the musician Polly Jean Harvey.

"Her Harp"

Hey raven hen,
Love-leery pen,
Pallor on nape,
Roar, never rape,

Eve, revere hell,
Heaven: non-real,
Prayer: holy ploy,
Jeer every ‘he,’

Prove venal nerve,
Prey on a perv,
Preen on a nave,
Have Johnny pay,

Yelp on a prop,
Yearn on a lap,
Pearl-heavy hole,
Reap lovely joy.

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