Invented Poetry Forms — The Skinny

In today’s post, we will be exploring the Skinny, a short fixed poetic form created by Truth Thomas, a singer/songwriter and poet, during the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop held at Howard University in 2005. The skinny is an eleven-line poem in which all the words of the first line are repeated in the eleventh and final line. The words may be used either in the original order or rearranged. Also, like in a sestina, the words in the last line do not have to be the exact match of the ones in the first but can be variations of the root word (for example, with the word “confuse” you could substitute “confusion”, “confused”, or “confusing”). All the other lines of the skinny consist of just one word, with the second, sixth, and tenth lines being the same word. The main goal of the skinny is to try to convey a precise idea or vivid image with the least amount of words possible. Although the subject matter can be about anything and the tone may vary from humorous to serious, most skinnys that have been written so far deal with prevalent issues facing society today. I have found writing them can be quite fun, and even addictive as you can witness by the following numerous examples I ended up writing for you to use as models for your own:

Mysterious Sabbath

Last Sunday morning,
My
Life
Irrevocably
Changed.
My
Newest
Ambition?
Forget
My
Last Sunday morning.

Strange Dreamscape With Felines

In these reoccurring convoluted dreams,
Cats
Chase
Rottweilers
Imitating
Cats
Pursued
By
Other
Cats
In these convoluted reoccurring dreams.

Conundrum

There are unfathomable things
Only
Found
In
Places
Only
Wisemen
Know,
Knowing
Only
Unfathomable things are there…

Poetic Truthseeker

Do I believe there’s some truth in all poetry?
No,
Some
Poems
Have
No
Honesty.
Oh
Really?
No.
I do believe there’s some truth in all poetry…

Am I Really a Snowflake?

Like a tender peach, my delicate ego bruises
Easily,
An
Unkind
Word
Easily
Devastating
My
Confidence,
Easily
Bruising my tender ego like a delicate peach.

Still Feeling Bad After All These Years

His guilty conscience still
Dogs
Him,
Kicking
Stray
Dogs
As
A
Child
Dogs
His still guilty conscience.

Perhaps Poetry Is Meant To Be Misunderstood

A failure to communicate
Is
Almost
Predestined.
That
Is
Certain
(Every
Poem
Is
A failure to communicate).

An Ancient Greek Philosopher Questions His Religion…

Who truly deserves the favor of the gods?
Certain
Folks
Who
Espouse
Certain
Beliefs,
So
Smugly
Certain
Who truly deserves the favor of the gods?

So dear readers, what do you think of the skinny? I hope you will find them as fun and fascinating as I do and will try writing some of your own. If you do, please consider submitting them to The Skinny Poetry Journal, an online poetry journal exclusively dedicated to this unique and wonderful poetry form (you will also find much better examples there than my own meager attempts.)

19 thoughts on “Invented Poetry Forms — The Skinny

      1. Thanks Paul. I will. Being blind I might need a bit of help sorting out how to submit. I love thebidea of it consisting of few words.

        Liked by 1 person

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  2. Thank you Paul for sharing another beautiful and challenging form with us. I look forward to trying my hand at the form. Your examples are well done. Should I be able to do this justice, it may well find its way into my “Whittled Words” series. Goodness knows it could use a breath of fresh air!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like an interesting poetry form. Will definitely take a try at this. however, I admit I fail to understand the poem you wrote. I definitely need to educate myself more on this kind of peoms. thank you for introducing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So so sorry for the late response, Zil, but thank you so much! I’m so glad you find the form interesting and hope you do give it a try. I do appreciate you letting me know about your difficulty with understanding the poem I wrote, so I will definitely try my improve my communication skills with my next efforts. I did go over the skinnys I wrote and discovered I messed up one of them by not following the proper rhyme scheme, so I was able to correct it thanks to you (although I am afraid that it still doesn’t make it easier to comprehend…)

      Liked by 1 person

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