Invented Poetry Forms – The Two-by-Four


The two-by-four is a rather quirky eight-word poetic form invented by the American poet and book publisher Lee Ann Brown, which I originally discovered on pages 100 and 101 of her first book of poetry “Polyverse” published in 1999. As its name indicates, the form consists of four lines of two words apiece, and may or may not rhyme (only one of Brown’s eleven two-by-fours in her book does). There is no restriction on subject matter, and the form itself can be very versatile, but the poem’s main emphasis should be on whimsical, creative, and often experimental usage of language and wordplay. Although the original poems by Lee Ann did not have individual titles, I prefer to title my own two-by-fours to help identify and set up each poem’s premise (otherwise, I am afraid readers would be scratching their heads trying to figure out what they are all about). Like many of the other weird and offbeat poetry forms I have written about in the past, I find the two-by-four to be quite delightful and amusing to play and tinker with, and hope my following examples might inspire you to try writing some of your own:

Collective Optimism

Everybody believes
The world
Will not
End tomorrow

Scuttling the Scuttlebutt

You say
They say
I hear
Just hearsay

Consultation With My Chiropractor

She says
“too tense”-
I picture
Simultaneous wigwams

Going Dutch

Salty licorice
Candy sandwiches
Three kisses
Wooden shoes

On the Midway at the 1979 Iowa State Fair

Sellers of
Ginzu knives
Deftly wielding
Singsong spiels

Fashion Tip No. 9
(According to My Girlfriend)

Matching socks
Are required
Only for
Fancy places

Stalking the Wild Poem

Elusive thoughts
And emotions
Caught in
Verbal cages

Telegraphic Choreography

Morris (code)
Dancing – polka
Dots and
Conga lines

Playing a Hunch(back)

Spinal intuition
Tells me
Notre Dame
Will win

In Celebration of Mr. Presley’s Controversial
Appearance on the Milton Berle Television Show
(June 5th, 1956)

Flagrant undulations
Rocking p(Elvis)
Rolling Hip
Hip hurray!!!

27 thoughts on “Invented Poetry Forms – The Two-by-Four

  1. Paul, I love it. I am very interested in learning new forms of poetry. Must try this one. Am following your blig now. It looks realky interesting. Lorraine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much, Lorraine! I really appreciate the follow, and hope you will enjoy my blog. I am really obsessed with finding and trying obscure and odd poetic forms which I love sharing with others. I do hope you will try writing your own tw0-by-fours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh indeed I will Paul. I am an invererate tryer outer of different forms. I really look forward to it,


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