Poetry Pep Up Day Two: Wit & Wits (Epigram & Solage)

Today’s challenge is a short poetry form that focuses on brevity, wit and wordplay. I’ll share two forms – and you can choose which one you want to write… or you can try both!

At first glance, the epigram and the solage look simple – but in reality, they are a tight construction of minimal muscle words.

An epigram expresses a single thought or observation about a subject others can relate to.

The epigram;

  • imparts wisdom
  • is satirical or witty – with a twist in the tail.
  • is written as a couplet, quatrain, or one-liner.
  • may rhyme.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge offered the following, by way of a shining, defining example;

What is an Epigram? A dwarfish whole,
Its body brevity, and wit its soul.
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

The term epigram is derived from the Greek word epigramma meaning inscription. Epigrams, with their witty words and wisdom, were often scattered through Autograph Books.

Examples of epigrams;

I can resist everything but temptation.
(Oscar Wilde)

Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.
(John F. Kennedy)

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,
it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

(Mark Twain)

Read more epigrams.

The solage was developed by Australian poet Cameron Semmens, and is less philosophy, more jest. It’s all about the wordplay!

  • Lines One and Two rhyme.
  • Line Three is just ONE word – with a twist.

Just three lines. It’s a joke! 🙃

The real joke is, it’s not as simple as it looks. Two separate elements of the first two lines must relate back to the final line – with a satisfying twist! It’s the dual twist element that people often miss – so I’ll spell it out in the first two, just so you know what to look for…

I don’t understand cricket
with bails on the wicket…
stumped!

Analysis: If you’re stumped, you don’t understand. If you knock the bails of the cricket wicket, you’re stumped.

Howzat!
No bat;
keeper.

Analysis: Caught by the keeper – but the batter didn’t hit it, so he’s not out, which means he’s a keeper.

got an itch
to stitch;
(k)nits

All solages © Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

Read more solages.


9 comments

  1. Morning song
    All day long
    Chickens

    I live on Kauai where we have free range chickens wandering everywhere. The baby chicks are out now yapping g their heads off.
    Malalo for Poetry Pep Up
    Aloha

    Liked by 1 person


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