In this first-ever anthology, more than 80 acrostics show the versatility of a storied poetic form that dates back to ancient times. In standard acrostics, the initial letters of successive lines spell out words when read vertically. Highlights include Lewis Carroll’s acrostic about the namesake of his Alice character, Edward Lear’s humorous alphabet poem, Edgar Allan Poe’s sonnet with a name arranged diagonally, and a forty-stanza poem spelling out the Lord’s Prayer. Informative chapter introductions explore acrostic legends, including Sir John Davies, who began the tradition of using the form to praise someone’s name with acrostics about Queen Elizabeth I, and George Moses Horton, an African American slave who peddled produce and poems before he learned to write.
"Beginning with ancient acrostic poetry, the information in this remarkable book shares the fascinating history of this poetic form. Michael Croland’s well chronicled details reveal how acrostics have woven through society’s history. This rewarding collection of poems is a welcome gift for spreading interest and delight in acrostics." —Avis Harley, author of African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways
“There’s a first time for everything,” 'they say, and that is apparently true for Michael Croland’s gathering of poems written in the venerable verse form called “acrostics.” . . . Croland has treated the subject exhaustively in this interesting volume.'" —Lewis Turco, author of The Book of Forms
"Far from basic poetry, acrostics, the introduction notes, 'have an ancient history in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew' and transcend the constrained form. From Blackwell’s three-line acrostic about the sun to Chilton’s lengthy poem about The Lord’s Prayer, readers will savor poems on assorted subjects from both famous authors and unknown writers." —Lisa M. Bolt Simons, author of Acrostic Poems
"Aficionados of wordplay will delight in this long overdue compendium of an often undervalued art form, which also discusses its history and highlights, along with variations ancient and modern such as the hidden acrostics in Shakespeare, Joyce, and, not unexpectedly, Lewis Carroll."
—Mark Burstein, president emeritus of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America
"It’s a poetic party on paper for Word Nerds like me, and a must-read for devotees of the form." —Brian P. Cleary, author of Bow-Tie Pasta: Acrostic Poems