Poetry Society of Tennessee

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Saturday, February 1, 2014


The dorsimbra was invented by three members of The Poetry Society of Tennessee (PST): Frieda Dorris, Robert Simonton, and Eve Braden. All three (deceased) were talented, versatile poets.

The poem is 12 lines long. The first 4 lines in iambic pentameter, rhymed abab, look like the opening of a Shakespearean sonnet.  The next 4 lines are terse (short, choppy) free verse. The final 4 lines are blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter), with the final line repeating the opening line of stanza 1.

The tone and topic of these poems are usually serious, but don't have to be. The dorsimbra is often a love poem. Some writers, who see the dorsimbra as a formal structure like the sonnet, disapprove of the use of contractions in writing them. Participants in a dorsimbra contest need to keep these matters in mind.


(dorsimba in memory of Eve Braden)

Her poems danced through moonlight and through rain,
no matter what the sorrows in her life.
Her writing lifted her above the pain.
She overcame the darkness and the strife.

From moonlight
until dawn
she dances now
above the grief.

Her poetry was songs of love and hope--
her words gave rainbows when the skies were gray.
They spoke of worlds with harmony and peace.
Her poems danced through moonlight and through rain.

Frances Cowden, Poetry Society of TN


Composing a dorsimbra can be fun!
Accept the challenge; master this neat trick.
Come learn right here the way to create one,
and, fear not, you will catch on pretty quick.

A twelve-line poem,
but be sure
to repeat
the first line last.

It opens like a sonnet with four lines
that rhyme a-b-a-b and bump just right.
Then four of free style--final four, blank verse.
Composing a dorsimbra can be fun!

F. Bruce, Poetry Society of TN

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