Maximizing Minimalism with the Pw(o’er)md
It’s April, and time again for “International Pw(o’er)md Writing Month,” a month-long event which a widely dispersed group of poets observe by publishing one-word stand alone poems (known as “”pw(o’er)mds”) every day.
If you are reading this, you are probably participating: Hello! I’ve been waiting for you!
What is a Pw(o’er)md?
The word was coined by Geof Huth to describe any one-word stand-alone poem. The word “pwoermd” (or “pw(o’er)md,” as I like to spell it) is itself a portmanteau, a folding together of the words “poem” and “word.” The form itself goes back further than that though, to Aram Saroyan’s groundbreaking “lighght,” and Jonathan Brannen’s “pigeoneon,” and probably back further than that. From Huth’s facebook:
The pwoermd is an idea growing toward birth, the smallest thought struggling to become, yet one still trapped in the mind of its maker. When it is born, it is born all at once, cracking out of its shell, lying wet before us so we can learn what it will be.
Stephen Nelson writes:
The white space around the poem reminds me of the underlying field of consciousness on which all words and thoughts are written. It is the bliss from which experience emerges.
For me the pw(o’er)md’s delight lies in its speed, energy and spontaneity, its ability to carry over the seed of meaning within the word, into the space of the word, into the letters themselves, where even the interstices hold the cotyledon of meaning, uncurling. It brings a heightened attention to every part of the word, its sources, its guts, and makes the word both strange and new.
I will post my own pw(o’er)mds here and to my Facebook page as I write them, and will keep them up (until they become ungainly):