Whittled Words – Alphabet Poem

Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:


Today, I want to cover the fun and creativity of the alphabet poem. There are many variations of alphabet poems. I will cover some here, but the concept can be manipulated in any way the artist desires. It is art after all.

You can write a poem where the first letter of each word is a different letter of the alphabet (random order):


By R. Murray


Kangaroos queried zebras
for clues about disappearing
x-ray machines, but those
striped horses were pathetic:
“You never ogle vain
underoos.” Even jumping
retain less gibberish.

A tactic for writing this variation of the poem is to write out the alphabet ahead of time so that you can pay attention to which letters have been used and which letters are still up for grabs. This poem will stretch your mind in unexpected ways.

Of course, you can also do this consecutively through the alphabet (A-Z):


By R. Murray

Among boisterous caroling
did excitement find great heights
in jolly kooks, laughing merrily.

Noisily, one powerful, quick rhythm
struck two unkempt vagabonds
with Xmas-y, youthful zeal.

Another method for alphabet poems is to go through the alphabet using the first letter of the first word for each line:


(Just for fun, done in a couplet rhyme scheme)

By Brad Osborne



Always was the gambling man

Betting against my own wealth plan

Chasing the longer odds a crime

Doubling down every single time

Easy money, but no easy game

Five of hearts fills the frame

Got to hide the telling blush

Holding the hearts in hand flush

Invoking much the hope for luck

Just one more bet, another buck

Kicker is an ace of spades

Let it ride, fortune’s made

Married queens in a pair

Nest of eights in another chair

Over my bet, the chips bleed

Pulled farther in by my greed

Quite the stakes on the velvet

Reward for risk, what will I get

Show our hands, after all in

Topped again, I cannot win

Unhappy, I loudly grouse

Very beaten by a full house

Wins the pot I worked hard to build

Xeric pain of pockets unfilled

Yell at the cards in swearing tone

Zero money left to get me home

Note: You can also flip the order from Z to A for another playful twist. It is all about having fun with the alphabet.

I hope you have enjoyed this entry to the series, Whittled Words. I look forward to your comments, and if you dare, maybe share your own alphabet poem. Thanks for reading!

22 Responses to “Whittled Words – Alphabet Poem”
  1. beth says:

    I love alphabets, and what a fun type of poem-

  2. jupitergrant says:

    Very clever, and looks like lots of fun 🙂

  3. yassy says:

    A very clever witty rhyming poem., cool stuff, Brad!!!

  4. Oh my. These were all so entertaining! What fun poetry. I’ll bet it’s harder than it seems. I was definitely impressed by the X’s. Lol

  5. Another great learning experience! This is a fun and interesting style of poetry and your sample was brilliant! Great work my friend! I always look forward to Whittled Words to learn something new and to Tuesdays Tidbits to achieve a little more depth of thinking. Both wonderful series! Thank you my brother!

  6. Jim Borden says:

    wonderfully done, Brad. Such a creative use of the alphabet, and in rhyme as well.

    I guess the guy had to thumb it home… 🙂

  7. Paul Szlosek says:

    Congratulations on such an excellent post as well as your brilliant alphabet poem in rhyming couplets! Bravo! Really well done!
    Your post really brought back a lot of memories for me because I used to be obsessed with the 26 word variation of the form. I first knew the form as an abecedarian because that is what Robert Pinsky referred to it as, but later in Lewis Turco’s book of poetic forms, i discovered it was also known as an alphabet poem and was credited as being invented by the poet Paul West.
    Anyway, I wrote dozens of them, and until now forgot I even had one published in a poetry journal called The Issue over 20 years ago:

    Ode to an Abecedarian Poet

    Abecedarian bard composing doggerel,
    elegies for God. His inspiration?
    Just kooky, loony, monomaniacal
    notions of poetry. Quite ridiculous!
    Stacking twenty-six unrelated words-
    xenophilic, yawping zaniness!

  8. Very cleaver, Mr. brad

  9. Or clever… stupid autocorrect

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