I “met” Greg Pincus, today’s guest poetry poster, when I came across his Fib poems and loved them. After years, I finally actually met him last summer. In person. For real.
I’m not much of a poetry formalist, I admit. In fact, I normally write funny, rhyming verses of no set form. Writing villanelles makes me cry. Sonnets cause sobbing. Yet, from time to time, I do love playing around with form, and I always love trying new ideas. That’s how I started telling Fibs.
In this case, Fibs are not lies, small or large. Instead, they’re six line, 20 syllable poems based on the Fibonacci sequence. Oh, I know. I know. No one told you there would be math today. But trust me. It won’t hurt.
The Fibonacci sequence, named for the 12th century mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, is a series of numbers where each one is the sum of the two before it. The classic sequence starts with 0 and 1 and builds from there: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and on and on and on. I decided to make zero a moment of silence then stop writing after the 8 syllable line. Here’s the first Fib I wrote:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.
While I am far, far, far from the first to write based on Fibonacci – people have long written books, poems, and songs among other things – I might’ve been the first to call these short poems based on it Fibs. I started off writing them as kind of a warm up exercise, and I still write them today. This form, at least for me, is sticky.
Somewhat to my surprise, I have found that kids love playing with Fibs, even when I add in my one “rule” – the one syllable lines can’t have an article or conjunction, meaning “the” “and” and other place fillers aren’t allowed. Frequently, we start off with one of my animal Fibs as an example…
Stretch and groom.
Sleep deep… and then zooooom,
Chasing something only I know.
… then the kids race off and create.
Personally, I think you should follow their example – start telling Fibs. They’re good for you. Honest!