A New Poetic Form: The Hourglass Sestina

I’ve been working with artist, photographer, and documentary filmmaker Lee Fearnside on an illustrated collection of poems titled The Fantastic Bestiary. During the writing process for this collection, I came up with the idea of an abbreviated sestina form that would usually take the approximate shape of an hourglass if centered on the page. Those familiar with sestinas will know what to look for — and as you see, it is very much an abbreviated sestina. I hope you enjoy it. End words chosen for me by S.S.

The Abbreviated Hedgehog

A certain shortened Hedgehog, whose jolly,
abbreviated laughs punctuated the light
with not too prickly,
still softly serene
warmth and
His warm,
always modest serenity
smooths out his prickly
spines, elevating the morning’s light
so it ascends to his jolly
his serene, warm freedom,
his jolly, prickly light.


Published by James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock, Women in Romanticism (Routledge, 2023); David Bowie and Romanticism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022); Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)); Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019); Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at jamesrovira.com for details.

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