Forward/Backward Poem(s)?
August 9, 2011 6:48 PM   Subscribe

What is the name/term of art for a poem that can be read forward and have one meaning, and again backwards for another?

Not a palindrome, but the poetic form that mirrors this video

I'm fairly certain, and he is quite positive, that poems like this have been seen/read by us.

Examples of this type of poetry would be appreciated, but the term is the real key.
posted by Chipmazing to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard it called Palindrome Poetry or Reverse Poetry
posted by xingcat at 7:07 PM on August 9, 2011

The word for words exhibiting this property is a Semordnilap.
posted by Paragon at 7:08 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lost Generation does this; the term read-and-reverse is used to describe it.
posted by Paragon at 7:16 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Marilyn Singer published a collection of these last year: Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
posted by cider at 7:31 PM on August 9, 2011

Could "Chiastic" be the term you are looking for?
posted by effluvia at 10:48 PM on August 9, 2011

Hmm. The Wikipedia entry on constrained writing doesn't mention this form, and as we all know, Wikipedia is the final authority on everything.

Hofstadter's Le Ton Beau de Marot had a chapter on constrained writing, but I don't remember him discussing this form. He'd be all over it, though. Maybe you could e-mail him and ask.
posted by adamrice at 6:41 AM on August 10, 2011

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