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Exploring Poetry Styles: The Bop

The Bop poem is a fixed form invented by Afaa Michael Weaver (pictured) formerly known and born to this world as Michael S. Weaver. This form is a poetic argument in which the stanzas present the problem, go into detail what the problem is, and offer a resolution (if any) at the close of the poem. The poem consists of 3 stanzas, all which have a determinate amount of lines, followed by a refrain.

The Bop
Stanza One: Six Lines Long. This stanza states what the problem is and has a refrain (repeating line that is found throughout the poem) as a separate line that follows.

Stanza Two: Eight Lines Long. This stanza goes into detail the specifics of the problem. After this stanza, the refrain is stated as a separate line that follows.

Stanza Three: Six Lines Long. This stanza offers a solution, if any, to the problem. If a solution is not found to the problem, then this stanza will offer an imprint of the failure that was reached since it was not successful in its attempt to fix the problem. After this stanza, the refrain is stated as a separate line.

Example:


Rambling
by Afaa M. Weaver

in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary

In general population, census
is consensus—ain't nowhere to run
to in these walls, walls like a mind—
We visitors stand in a yellow circle
so the tower can frisk us with light,
finger the barrels on thirsty rifles.

I got rambling, rambling on my mind

In general population, madness runs
swift through the river changing, changing
in hearts, men tacked in their chairs,
resigned to hope we weave into air,
talking this and talking that and one brutha
asks Tell us how to get these things
They got, these houses, these cars.
We want the real revolution. Things...

I got rambling, got rambling on my mind

In the yellow circle the night stops
like a boy shot running from a Ruger 9mm
carrying .44 magnum shells, a sista
crying in the glass booth to love's law,
to violence of backs bent over to the raw
libido of men, cracking, cracking, crack...

I got rambling, rambling on my mind
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Poetry Prompt: Visit a news website and look at the headlines; write a bop poem about a specific world or local problem that exists and what solution, if any, can be found to the conflict.

-brr

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