Poetry — The Word, Not the Genre


In recent months, the Poetry Foundation’s flagbearer magazine, Poetry, has been featuring the same cover, only with different typographical fonts and colors, using the six letters in the word “poetry.”

While I have not been ga-ga about what is being printed between the pages of this magazine, I do like the simplicity and beauty of laying out covers like this. I stare at them often, like a coffee-table book you never open but leave out for public amusement and occasional dust collection.

It’s a bit of a tic-tac-toe, really. Going with contiguous letters, you find a few familiar friends hiding in the word:

  • POE as in good old Edgar Allan
  • POT as in a saucepan or a hippie’s best friend
  • PET as in the little furry fellow at your feet
  • YEP as in an informal consent
  • YET as in “not…”
  • REP as in a shorthanded representative (it was probably caught in the POT)
  • PERT as in saucy and flip
  • OPT as in “out”
  • TOE as in the ten (we hope) lowest parts of your body politic
  • TOPE as in drinking to excess or (who knew?) a type of shark
  • TRY as in what poets do every day, supposedly
  • TREY as in being related to the number three (e.g. basketball’s 3-pointer)
  • RYE as in pumpernickel bread or a field of Holden’s own
  • POET as in the mirror you’re gazing at or the writers you should be but probably are not reading (coward)

poetry 2

Of course, once you move on to jumping letters, all poetry breaks loose:

  • ROPE as in a useful tool for sailors and hangmen
  • ROT as in a useful British expression
  • PREY as in, if it didn’t exist, PREDATORS would go out of business (or, like that “successful businessman, Donald Trump,” declare bankruptcy early and often)
  • ORE as in iron or Oregon, maybe
  • YORE as in “years of…”
  • PRO as in a professional abbreviator
  • TOY as in what hijacked Christmas
  • ROE as in the eggs of fish or lobster (ew)
  • PORT as in ships seeking a safe harbors, or a specialty wine
  • TROPE as in a used and abused figure of speech from days of YORE

And so on and so forth. You might get a subscription to try the game yourself, but I’m off this judging-a-magazine-by-its-cover kick so will make the Beatles and let it be.

Still, if you find more words and want to have useless (to posterity) fun with POETRY, feel free to comment away.