Sunday, 23 July 2017


TYWKIWDBI directs our attention to a rather clever feat of versification that comes in the form of David Shulman’s 1936 anagrammatic poem (boustrophedic writing is something quite different but it seemed to capture the sense of meter somehow) reflecting on the painting of Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (whose other famous painting Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way—or the short form, Westward Ho! hanging in the Capitol would probably make another good candidate for this treatment) depicting Washington Crossing the Delaware and composed a sonnet (with rhyming couplets) where every line is an anagram of the title. Here’s the opening stanza:

A hard, howling, tossing water scene.
Strong tide was washing hero clean.
How Cold! Weather stings as in anger.
O silent night shows war ace danger!

Incredibly these are complete, exhaustive anagrams—like Alec Guinness = Genuine Class or Jeremy’s Iron, and a pretty nifty idea to stay within those sorts of constraints, each line having twenty-nine letters like the name of the painting. Of course, all this was accomplished without the aid of computers—so in case you’re needing some electronic inspiring, try out your phrase here. It can be insightful too to find out what apt words might be buried in your name, as well.