Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Writing Fibs

A new form of poetry has taken off the U.S. in the last couple of weeks. Gregory K. Pincus, A Los Angeles screenwriter invited blog readers to send him Fibs* - sixline poems that use a mathematical progression known as the Fibonacci sequence to dictate the number of syllables in each line. The idea spread like wildfire across the internet, and it has been estimated that more than 1,000 Fibs have been posted since the beginning of April.

The New York Times explains:

The Fibonacci progression is a mathematical formula that starts with 0 and 1 and then continues to add numbers that are equal to the sum of the previous two numbers. Thus, the first seven numbers in the sequence are: 0-1-1-2-3-5-8. ... To write a Fib, a more complicated version of the classic, highly constrained haiku, the poet composes a six-line poem that has the correct number of syllables in each line corresponding to each digit in the sequence. (The real first line of each Fib is silence.)

The sequence apparently features in the Da Vinci Code, and shows up in the nautilus shell, knitting patterns and the compositions of Bartok.

Now me, I don't understand maths at all and managed to fail every single maths exam that life ever threw at me (honestly!), but the creative part of one's soul can't resist squeezing itself into self-imposed limits. Here's my very first one.
care that
i'm not math
matical, I just
want to write a poem in this form.
Now it's over to you. Compose one or two while the boss isn' t looking and post them up. The best Fibber buys me lunch at a fancy restaurant of their choice.

(*Hmmm. I'm just wondering if a better name for the form might not have been the Pincushion, immortalising its inventor.)


Unknown said...

I savoured each bite
But now I have put on one pound

Unknown said...

Am being evil since I am here earlier than anyone else at work!

my boss
I wish he
would develop an
itch but be unable to scratch

Unknown said...

Moving on ! Sharon I had always loved math being the nerd that I am - now I can't seem to stop - shall speak in fib the whole day today - just to amuse myself!!

a look
at my face
in a new mirror
and all i saw was my old face

Spot said...

Sham I like your first one :)
That's some serious cheesecake!

I'm going to use the 0 as a integral part of my fib.

Now three words
still meaning nothing.
Words have no meaning without thought.

Greg Pincus said...

Sadly, Pincushion was taken and sounded too much like I'd be some odd form of voodoo doll!

Nice fibbing hereabouts. Spot may have the written the best Fib I've seen by a cow!

Thanks for the link...

bibliobibuli said...

oh my goodness gregory k ... i thought you might google yourself at some point and drop by and am so glad you have ... it must have been very exciting to get your story picked up by the IHT and New York Times ...

anyway you now can see malaysia about to hit by the bug ... forget sudoku, this is serious!

sham and spot, delightful efforts ... i know from first hand experience the effects of sham's cheesecake on the waist and bum ... the boss one made me laugh ... and then you guys became more profound ... the space should be used spot, the dots were inventive

all i can say is MORE, MORE (and i shall enjoy many lunches if i play my cards right!)

Anonymous said...

No one
Will hear Us
As We would have banned
All thoughts words speech women children

Anonymous said...

cutting myself
but my consciense is
telling me I can't because
I have skin of a constipated elephant

Karen said...

to fib -
it sure beats
actually working!
thanks, sharon, for the distraction

Anonymous said...

so addictive
then I released
my first poem was a failure
because all I need to do was 0+1+1+2+3+5+8

Anonymous said...

can't stop
fib-bing, so please
help before I turn into
a frenzied fib-bing foob fib-bing all day long

Anonymous said...

can't stop
fib-bing, so please
help before I turn into
a frenzied fib-bing fool fib-bing all day long

Ops, sorry spelling error. You must think I have a lose screw somewhere in the head.

Unknown said...

in future
or maybe later
i will be true and love you too

Anonymous said...


to forget
everything in life
and become someone else for good, for me.


could have
only two things
It would be you and your love forever.

Anonymous said...

As man calculates
How many syllables? Eight!

she said
as she looked
at my bony knees
You're sexy when you disagree

Anonymous said...

b l
i o b
i b u l i
the blog of a fib-ber and bookaholic

Ok, I was just fooling around.

are creative
bunch of creatures
they're so creative that they
use everything and think directly opposite right handers

Err...utterly crap this one.

his nuts
he loves it
very very very very much
i mean very very very very very much

Tee hee, I have no words..

Anonymous said...

thinks aloud
Nobody listens
She is their conscience which scares them

__mars said...

was alone
he's alone and bored
hence the fibonacci numbers

Anonymous said...

On A Tree
Singing With Sadness
Of Times Gone By Forever

I don't know if the last line meets the requirements :P

Anonymous said...

In Your
Coffee Cup
Unwinding into
Infinity. Now please sup up.

How fascinating to watch these things go viral. A pity the sestina isn't as contageous as this.

Allan Koay 郭少樺 said...

is coming.
Must apply leave now,
Or I'll have to kick my own balls.

Allan Koay 郭少樺 said...

broken English.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering how to deal with the zero visitor. "(silence)" is the touch of required genius I think!

bibliobibuli said...

these are so good i'm humbled! some thought provoking, some very personal, and some so very funny (visitor - i nearly coughed up a hairball i was laughing so much)

animah - the bony knees made me smile and so true about the voices

dee - you are really having fun with these and getting very inventive - don't forget to count the syllables or you're writing free verse (or a form of poetry of your own!) - not that that's a problem 'cos we're all playing in the sandpit ... who is scrat?

ms d - the becoming someone else - poignant

_earth - probably right!

bawangmerah - yeah last line was only 7 syllables - you could write 'oh those times gone by forever"

walker - agree about the quality of the silence - i've always felt in music that silence is as important as the written notes and then there's john cage with his ode to silence ... how do you make it felt in a fib? must explore and see what others have done ... loved the coffee cup swirl

thanks you all so much and keep 'em coming

bibliobibuli said...

oooohhh sorry snowie - yes great distraction ... which reminds me i should actually get something done with my day!

Anonymous said...

Difficult to emphasise the silence when it's on the first line isn't it? You're right, it is powerful. The subject of one of my favourite Depeche Mode songs in fact. (Enjoy the Silence.)

Anonymous said...

"more than 1,000 Fibs have been posted since the beginning of April."

Wow, that's a lot of lies :)