a Magazine for Writers
by Sal Amico M. Buttaci

POETRY FORMS:  Aragman   (pronounced “a rag man”)

Sometimes we can even invent poetic forms.  Why not!   There was a first time for all the forms we currently rely on to write our poetry. Some poet sat down one day and purposely or accidentally devised an original form that became so popular it survived the centuries.  So I thought I’d come up with one of my own.  I hope you like it so much you’ll tell all your poet friends and they’ll tell their friends and they’ll––well, you know what I mean.  Maybe one day Literature will remember Sal Buttaci as the inventor of the “aragman.” 

Here is a poem of six-line stanzas, as many stanzas as you care to write. 

The word “aragman” is an anagram of the word “anagram.” 

1.First of all, begin with a word or two, perhaps your first name or first and last name. Settle on a word or two with not too many letters.  In my aragman below, I used my first name “Salvatore.”

2.After you settle on a word, go to the Internet site http://Wordsmith.org/anagram/

3.Type in your word and click on “Get Anagrams.”  Instantly, you will be  provided with all the words that use the letters of your chosen word. 

4.Copy/paste all the words that are derived from your chosen word and carry it over to your Microsoft Word screen, give the file a name, and save it. 

5.Now take a look at each of the anagrams and decide on a few for your aragman.  You will need three for each six-line stanza.  From the list select those anagrams that can be woven into your poem.

6.In each stanza, odd-numbered lines 1, 3, and 5 are different anagrams from your list. If it’s possible, restrict each anagram on these lines be the same number of syllables. Make these anagram lines darker than the others. Even-numbered lines 2, 4, and 6 are completions of corresponding anagram lines 1,3, and 5.  If possible, let these completion lines also conform to the same number of syllables,   perhaps a number greater than the syllables of the anagram lines.For example, in   my poem, the anagram lines are each three syllables while the completion lines   are each almost all six syllables long.

7.The poem’s last line stands alone, after the stanzas, and it is one more anagram line.

I must say, the aragman could provide lots of fun for those of you who enjoy the puzzle-working aspect of wordplay.  Thankfully, the Internet site at Wordsmith will provide you with the anagrams of your selected word.  That’s truly the hardest part and it’s done for you.  Next, you need to select the best of the anagrams, preferably all having the same number of syllables and related meanings, even if their relationships is a stretch.

Let yourself have fun writing an aragman.  Don’t make yourself crazy by insisting on too many stanzas.  The following poem I wrote has six stanzas of six lines each, but I am including here only four.  Send us one of no more than three stanzas.  Better yet, find a home for your aragman by submitting it to a magazine or Internet –zine.


A slaver to

the labor of wordplay

A travel so

vicariously thrilling

A vast lore

from which to dabble

Atlas over

a hefting of strong words

A rave slot

machine to pull down poems

Area volts

zapped in poetic lines

Tear salvo

from the broken-hearted

Tears oval

and wet flow down faces

Alas, voter!

it’s time to add your name to

Art as love

(Originally appeared in Poetidings; July,August, September 2005…written for the New Jersey Poetry Society, Inc.)

© 2005 Sal Amico M. Buttaci

Sal says: Since the age of sixteen, way back in 1957, when an essay I wrote appeared in the New York Sunday News, I have been writing almost daily and seeing my work in print: poems, stories, letters, and articles.  In fact, “mousetrap,” a story of mine, sometime ago appeared on LSS.  Next to my wife Sharon, I love writing best!  Contact Sal.