Friday, November 3, 2017

I Wish I'd Written This

Pleasures of the Inbox
2: One Sentence Poems

Stephen Toft
Tanka Poem

The ocean
the seashell,
reclaims the sound
of itself.

Stephen Toft is a poet and homelessness worker who lives with his girlfriend and their children in Lancaster, UK.

Brad Rose
The Angry Dead

During the excavation,
relatives were forbidden
from viewing the skeletons,
which made them very angry.

(A found poem, lines taken from “Bring Out the Dead: How Archeologists Think About Mortality,” Times Literary Supplement, Oct 28, 2016, p.13)

Brad is the author of Pink X-Ray from Big Table Publishing and three chapbooks from Right Hand Pointing.

Mark Young
Three Halves

Halfway through
the night, with
the moon halfway

through its four-
week cycle, I rise 
to take in the night 

air, leaving behind 
a poem that is 
halfway to nowhere

Mark Young's most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore, from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago. 

Michele Stepto
The Unfinished Poem 

It is not like seeing a bear loping across your path
ahead of you on the road
in the evening light

its fur rippling over its muscles and blacker than the dark
coming on, as black as licorice
or anthracite

as it finds its opening into the twilit woods and you idly
wonder what errand this moderate
hurry might

serve and whether this particular bear, however black
he might seem, could possibly be
the Norwegian White

Bear King ambling the woods toward the castle
and the princess waiting there, waiting
so they write

to marry a bear and change him back into a man
after sleeping with him (no questions asked
and never catching sight

of his true shape) for three or four nights (just feeling his fur
in the dark, silky and soft and
neither black nor white)

or else that Penobscot boy who got lost in the woods
and was taken in by a family of bears who
loved him despite

his being human, though he wasn't that for long, not
after the bear hair sprouted and grew and
covered him up right

down to his plantigrade feet, so that one morning when he caught
a salmon between his teeth and ate it
raw and at first bite

began to bark with joy, just like a bear, his new
mama looked on with pride
at the sight

of this child of hers with his silky hair and his funny snout
and his sharp, sharp eyes
not quite

a bear yet, but coming along nicely, she thought.

Michele Stepto's work has appeared online at Verse-Virtual, What Rough Beast (at Indolent Books), NatureWritingMirror Dance Fantasy and Lacuna Journal.

James Hamby

Every winter
I saw her through the snow,
glinting in my eye like jagged ice,
unreachable at the edge of perception.

James Hamby won the blue ribbon in the sack race at his elementary school three years in a row.

As you can see, the one sentence poem is a versatile form, which can be very short or quite long. 

I keep thinking I must try a one-sentence poem of my own some day. Meanwhile, I love all these.

One Sentence Poems is an online journal. I have subscribed to it by email, and every morning I receive the latest post.  
I am always struck by their variety and inventiveness.

The 'About' section says:

We publish poems made up of a single sentence. We typically publish a single poem 5 days a week.
Your editors are Dale Wisely and Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco.
Thanks to co-founder Robert Scotellaro for co-editing OSP 2014-2016.
Please submit!

Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.


  1. These are wonderful! My favorite is "Three Halves." I'm going to visit that web site!

  2. Oh, these are all very cool. But I especially love the poem about the bear and am intrigued by the long-sentence poem. Wonderful, Rosemary!

    1. The bear poem is amazing, and very artful and layered. I see more in it each time I re-read. Yet my very favourite of these is the last one – even before it gained a new dimension for me when I looked up the title and found out that Lachesis is one of the three Fates: the one who draws out the thread, i.e. apportions one's measure, or length, of life.

  3. Thank you Rosemary for the one sentence poems. Perhaps, we are all speaking just one long sentence? Could that be?

  4. I love the idea of one long sentence in a poem....I think many times we are speaking this one long sentence....these were wonderful!

  5. Thank you Rosemary, for helping me to better understand what I've been trying to do...


  6. This is a wonderful post Rosemary. The one sentence poem reminds me of Ginsberg's American Sentence of 17 syllables too.

  7. I enjoyed all of these poems. I agree with Annell that perhaps we are all speaking one long sentence! The bear poem IS totally amazing I think I am going to try a 'one long sentence' poem for poetry pantry tomorrow, but then again I think many of my poems might be that! Smiles. (I like 'the angry dead' poem very much too.)

    1. haha, yes, we may have written many 'one sentence' poems without realizing it. :)

  8. These are splendid! Little poems - particularly tanka, I have found - are often imbued with a touch of irony, that can be so compelling - and nuanced - when deftly rendered in short pieces. Thanks for this, Rosemary.

  9. oh no! i think blogger ate my comment and now i have to give it another go. :(

    this is interesting, very interesting. the 'bear' poem blew me away. it reminds me of the stories of children who grew up with wolves.

    i liked how contemporary poetry evolved with the birth of the internet. it makes the literary arts and the written word more accessible to the masses, and writers more open to sharing their thoughts. thanks for the article, Rosemary! :)


This community is not meant to be used in a negative manner. We ask that you be respectful of all the people on this site as each individual writer is entitled to their own opinion, style, and path to creativity.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Archive