Whittled Words – Anagram 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:





While reading “The Best American Poetry 2007”, I came across this very different form of poetry referred to as an Anagram poem. I was intrigued by it but have avoided it, as any thought about writing in this form made me shiver with dread at the work that may be involved. But, if we always avoid the hard things, we can never truly grow our art in every way possible. So, here goes.

In an anagrammatic poem, all the words the poet uses in the body of the poem are an anagram of the title of the poem. The real challenge with this kind of poem was first picking a word or words that have at least a couple vowels and a good mix of consonants for the title. Then, you brainstorm all the words you can think of using only those letters (as many times as you wish, of course). Creating that word list really gave me a new appreciation of the importance and diversity one extra letter can bring to the table.

After creating a word list, it is just a matter of playing around with different word combinations. You may find it difficult to touch on deep or intellectual subjects with the limited vocabulary, but it can still convey a message, still be beautiful, and most important to anything we write, it can be fun.


Examples of Anagram Poems:




by Robert Lee Brewer


Red dresses drape spare dressers,
pass dreaded pear parades…

Spears reads radar passes,
spares dapper dad seeds…

Dear are dead are dads
are ads pressed deep sea dares…

Dear papa pared raps,
spread seeds, snapped red era apps…



By Christian Bök

loveless vessels

we vow

solo love

we see

love solve loss

else we see

love sow woe

selves we woo

we lose

losses we levee

we owe

we sell

loose vows

so we love

less well

so low

so level

wolves evolve



By Brad Osborne


Contrary to grammar

Momentary monogamy

A magenta mortar

Traces any crayon

Narrate peasantry

Strong arcs potency

An arrogant manner

Pagan roars stammer

Arcane sarcoma

Pregnant company

Cramps groomsman

Tamper persona

Portray romances

Repay Roman mantra

Man’s program smear

Sorcery promotes years


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 anagram poem. Thanks for reading!

8 Responses to “Whittled Words – Anagram Poem”
  1. Brilliant work you’ve done my friend! Although I do not understand this style of poetry at all, seems very complicated but you’ve done a smashing job!

  2. beth says:

    wow, this really takes a lot of brain power and skill. well done!

  3. Jim Borden says:

    this looks quite challenging – well done, Brad! nice that you were still able to portray romance with such a style 🙂

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