How to Write a Triversen poem (aka Verset)

This is one of my favorite poem forms! A verset (also know as the triversen) is a six stanza poem in which each stanza is composed of one single sentence, broken into three lines. The poem is usually unrhymed and often uses alliteration.

Here are the rules:

  1. Pick a subject, any subject. The triversen is flexible!
  2. To start, write a single complete statement or observation.
  3. Now break that one line sentence into three lines. Place breaks strategically where you might want the reader to take a breath or pause to ponder.
  4. Line’s two and three set the tone or state a connected idea for the statement in the first line.
  5. Each line builds on the next to create a mood or story.
  6. Continue writing the lines in this way until you have 6 stanzas of three lines each.
  7. The lines should not rhyme, but lyrical versets rock!
  8. The poem should be written to the rhythm of normal speech as if you were saying these words to a friend.


Example #1
 William Carlos Willams’ famous poem On Gay Wallpaper.

The green-blue ground
is ruled with silver lines
to say the sun is shining.

And on this moral sea
of grass or dreams lie flowers
or baskets of desires.

Heaven knows what they are
between cerulean shapes
laid regularly round.

Mat roses and tridentate
leaves of gold
threes, threes and threes.

Three roses and three stems
the basket floating
standing in the horns of blue.

Repeating to the ceiling
to the windows
where the day.

Blows in
the scalloped curtains to
the sound of rain. 


Example #2
  I wrote this triversen during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic as I watched and participated in the mad scramble to bring some kind of normalcy to our lives while we isolated.

BEHIND THE POEM

Verset means “in one breath” and triversen means “three.” This triple verse sentence structure is a fun poetic form developed by William Carlos Williams enabling a poet to write about a range of subjects and feelings in a flexible but concise manner.