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What's an Acrostic?

Definition: acrostic a·cros·tic /əˈkrôstik/ An acrostic (from French acrostiche < post-classical Latin acrostichis < Hellenistic ἀκροστιχίς, from ancient Greek: ἄκρος 'highest, topmost' + στίχος 'verse') is a poem or other form of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line, paragraph or other recurring feature in the text spells out a word or a message. As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. A famous acrostic was made for the acclamation JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S SON, SAVIOUR (Greek: Ιησούς Χριστός, Θεού Υιός, Σωτήρ; Iesous CHristos, THeou Yios, Soter). The initials spell ICHTHYS (ΙΧΘΥΣ), Greek for fish – hence the frequent use of the fish as a symbol for Jesus Christ from the early days of Christianity to the present time. There are many famous acrostics in Greek and Hebrew.

Mesostic Acrostic

Definition: mesostic me·so·stic /mésostik/ from Greek meaning "middle verse". Created by combining meso- a prefix meaning middle or intermediate Greek μέσος (mésos, "middle") and stíchos meaning a line of text, usually a verse Greek στίχος "verse". A mesostic is a poem or other typography such that a vertical phrase intersects lines of horizontal text. It is similar to an acrostic, but with the vertical phrase intersecting the middle of the line, as opposed to beginning each new line. Mesostic is the one of the types of acrostic poem formats supported by Our exclusive variation is formed by building on the way Jackson Mac Low used preexisting text and index words to create "diastics" and the unique way American Composer John Cage layed out the text around an acrostics.

Alphabetical Acrostic

alphabetical acrostics or Abecedarius are relatively simple acrostics in which the first letter of every word, strophe or verse follows the order of the alphabet. This form of acrostic occurs in the first four of the five songs that make up the Book of Lamentations, in the praise of the good wife in Proverbs 31, 10-31, and in Psalms 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 and 145 of the Hebrew Bible. Notable among the acrostic Psalms are the long Psalm 119, which typically is printed in subsections named after the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, each of which is featured in that section; and Psalm 145

Acrostic History

Ever wonder why a such an odd thing as a fish is used as a symbol for Jesus Christ? Ichthus comes from a famous acrostic "Jesus Christ God's Son Saviour".

The acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣ spells fish in Greek
Ιησούς Jesus
Χριστός Christ
Θεού God's
Υιός Son
Σωτήρ Saviour

Graphic Poetry Terms Related to Acrostic Poems

Constrained writing
Constrained writing is a literary technique in which the writer is bound by some condition that forbids certain things or imposes a pattern.
Altar Poem
Altar poetry is any type of poetry where the characters, words, and lines have been written in such a way that when looked at as a whole, the poem forms an outline that is easily recognizable to the reader.
Carmen Figuratum Poem
Carmen figuratum is a poem that has a certain shape or pattern formed either by all the words it contains or just by certain ones therein.
Concrete Poem
Concrete poetry or Size poetry is poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem
Diamond Poem
diamond poetry, or diamante is a style of poetry that is made up of six or seven lines.
Calligram Poem
A calligram is a image created by the words expresses visually what the word, or words, say.
Lanterne Poem
Lanterne poetry is a five line poem where the first line has one syllable, the second line two syllables, the third line three syllables, the fourth line four syllables and the fifth line one syllable.
Haiku Poem
Haiku poetry is a very short form of Japanese poetry characterised by three phrases of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.
A chronogram is a sentence or inscription in which specific letters, interpreted as numerals, stand for a particular date when rearranged.
A mnemonic, or mnemonic device, is any learning technique that aids memory.
An acronym is a word derived from the initial letters of the words of a phrase: For example, the word radar comes from "Radio Detection and Ranging"
Sources: Wikipedia