The poem I posted today is an abecedarian. The abecedarians I see most often anthologized are fairly straightforward, with letters of the alphabet running down the left margin, as the first letter of the words that begin each line.
Of course, you can have lots of fun with this technique. My favorite abecedarians at the moment are the Future of Terror, the Terror of the Future sequences by Matthea Harvey, in her volume Modern Life.
So, here's a holiday challenge for these days when we may feel uninspired: let's use the alphabet to help us jumpstart our creativity.
I always start with the most difficult letters--I grab my dictionary and figure out the line that will start with X, and go from there.
I just heard an NPR interview with Paul McCartney, who participated in a song project: 13 songs in 13 days, one per day. He said he often started by opening the dictionary and looking for beautiful words. If it's good enough for a former Beatle, it can work for us!
How This September Slipped By Me
3 weeks ago