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A friend of mine, Kathleen Lynch, introduced me to Sevenlings and this explanation by the form's creator, Roddy Lumsden. I have in turn written and published several Sevenlings and told many other poets about the form. APJ was proud to feature "Sevenlings for Akhmatova" by Diane Thiel in its first issue and "Sevenling: Dare" by Rebecca Patrascu in the second issue. And APJ is proud to feature this essay with the author's permission. The author did wish to add that "the rules are to be freely adapted to suit the poet it's not a strict form." Find out more about Roddy Lumsden by clicking here.
Sevenlings by RODDY LUMSDEN
The sevenling is a poem of seven lines inspired by the form of this much translated short verse by Anna Akhmatova (1889 - 1966).
He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America.
He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.
... And he married me.
tr. D M Thomas From Selected Poems (Penguin)
Roddy Lumsden's first book Yeah Yeah Yeah (Bloodaxe
Books, 1997) was shortlisted for Forward and Saltire first book prizes. His second
collection The Book of Love (Bloodaxe Books, 2000), a Poetry Book Society Choice,
was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Mischief Night: New and Selected Poems
(Bloodaxe Books, 2004) draws on these two books as well as Roddy Lumsden is Dead
(Wrecking Ball Press, 2001), a new collection, The Drowning Man, his pamphlet The
Bubble Bride, and a previously uncollected sonnet sequence, Cavali Riscaldati.
He is a freelance writer, specializing in quizzes and word puzzles, and has held several
residencies, including ones with the City of Aberdeen, St Andrews Bay Hotel, and in 1999
as "poet-in-residence" to the music industry when he co-wrote The Message,
a book on poetry and pop music published by the Poetry Society. He co-edited Anvil
New Poets 3 (2003) with Hamish Ironside. In 2004 Chambers Harrap published his
popular reference book Vitamin Q: a temple of trivia, lists and curious words.