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Focus on Form: Aragman, Lin Style

Angel 013

Angel 013 (Photo credit: Juliett-Foxtrott)

This week’s poem, an aragman, was a real challenge for me.

I generated over 2000 anagrams with the link using my pets’  names and saved the results to a Word document. I then picked about 50 that appealed to me which I could see had potential as leading lines into my choice of non-anagram words.

I put them into 2 six-line stanzas starting as odd number lines, even numbers my choice of words, with a single anagram as the closing line. There are rules suggested for syllables which I dare to say I ignored- I was having enough of a problem getting the poem to make some sort of cohesive whole! My favorite anagram I couldn’t work in was “Gale omen sky” so maybe I can use that and some of the other left-over bits in a new project.

Here is my effort:

Smokey Angel

-an Aragman-

Gleams key on          

St. Peter’s belt

As elegy monk

Drowns his sorrows

La genome sky

Hovers over all

Angels key Om

Praising abounds

Make yes long

Open golden gates as

Gale monkeys

Laugh in storm like

Leaky gnomes

© 2012 Lin Neiswender


Focus on Form: Aragman

Welcome to Focus on Form. For the next three weeks, each of us Muselings will be writing a poem in the same form and sharing it here on the blog. 


Aragman (pronounced “a rag man”) is a fairly new form, created by Sal Buttaci in 2005. All poetry forms have to start somewhere! I’m not sure where I first heard about this style, but the notes for it have been sitting in my poetry folder for years now. I figured this would be an ideal time to pull it out and try something new.


The poem consists of six-line stanzas, ending with a stand alone line.

The concept centers around anagrams (“aragman” is, in fact, an anagram of “anagram”). Here are the rules, as set by Buttaci:

  1. First of all, begin with a word or two, perhaps your first name or first and last name. Settle on a word or two with not too many letters.
  2.  After you settle on a word, go to the internet site
  3. Type in your word and click on “Get Anagrams.” Instantly, you will be provided with all the words that use the letters of your chosen word.
  4. Copy/paste all the words that are derived from your chosen word and carry it over to your Microsoft Word screen, give the file a name, and save it.
  5. Now take a look at each of the anagrams and decide on a few for your aragman. You will need three for each six-line stanza. From the list select those anagrams that can be woven into your poem.
  6. In each stanza, odd-numbered lines 1, 3, and 5 are different anagrams from your list. If it’s possible, restrict each anagram on these lines to the same number of syllables. Make these anagram lines darker than the others. Even-numbered lines 2, 4, and 6 are completions of corresponding anagram lines 1, 3, and 5. If possible, let these completion lines also conform to the same number of syllables.
  7. The poem’s last line stands alone, after the stanzas, and it is one more anagram line.

The trick for this is finding a good phrase or word that will produce enough workable anagrams. Have fun trying different word combinations until you find something you like.


Here are a few stanzas from Buttaci’s original poem, based off his first name:


A slaver to
the labor of wordplay
A travel so
vicariously thrilling
A vast lore
from which to dabble

Altas over
a hefting of strong words
A rave slot
machine to pull down poems
Area volts
zapped in poetic lines

Tear salvo
from the broken-hearted
Tears oval
and wet flow down faces
Alas, voter!
it’s time to add your name to

Art as love 

© 2005 Salvatore Buttaci

And here is my own poem. For my first attempt, I decided to make a tribute to this group:


Mingles us
in lingering chats
Less in mug
as we drink, think
In sums gel
the words we play

Lines smug
from much revision
Single sum
we come together
Smile sung
our words do ring

El Musings

Your Turn

Now I open it up to you. I welcome any feedback on my poem, as long as it is constructive and not destructive. Let’s help each other improve.

I’d love to see your own attempts at the form as well. You can post them in the comments here, on future posts, or link to your poem if it’s on a separate site. I hope you have fun with the Aragman.

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