The three word poem

There is contention (as is typical with art) about what the modern poem should be. When I was an undergrad, a part of my English minor meant I had to attend a number of grad students nad guest speakers read their work. About half of them were poets, and so I heard quite a bit of prose poetry and autobiographical narrative stuff that I didn’t really like. I’m sure most of it I would’ve liked better in a book or on paper. I’m not a highly aural person – I’m much more visible. beside, i feel much of what I like about more modern stuff has to do with the way it looks on the page, rather than how it sounds. I’m not sure if this actually should be the case, but it’s what I’ve mostly been stuck with.

The rise of texting, email, and short ‘n sweet forms of communication should have given rise to a whole new spate of brevity in poems. This should be a new age of rediscovering the haiku and re-crafting it for English in a new way. Why don’t people really use the language and make three word poems? You could write them faster on your cell phone than a novel. They could be funny, they could be commentary, they could be reflective, they could be wise, or raunchy. But mosst of all they would fit a new idea of brevity and force.

There are a number of questions I have regarding the form such poems would take. Would every word have to be over three syllables? or would that defeat the purpose? Would rhyming or some form of rhythmic structure need to be enforced? Would rules of reflection (nouns to the outside, adjective in the middle, or vice versa) be observed? Or would strict SVO construction be the rule?

So many permutations. So many possibilities. Please, give comments/suggestions/first attempts. It is our duty, not to shake our booties, but to recreate the poem. I’ll go first:




Or here’s a funny one:






  1. Guess who said,

    April 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    I like

    It has a certain ring to it

  2. Alexa Cohen said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:03 pm


  3. john said,

    September 9, 2008 at 2:57 am

    shortness of breadth

    convince me!

  4. J.Watts said,

    September 24, 2008 at 2:49 pm




  5. Danny said,

    November 19, 2008 at 9:48 am

    What the f%#k?

  6. hello said,

    May 6, 2009 at 8:35 am

    heyy now!! what now fnny cow theres my three word poem ohhhhhh snappppp!!!

  7. November 11, 2010 at 5:23 am

    he came; left

  8. rgrsefdsrhydrtyh said,

    September 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    come, go, ….. death

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