The O(c)tlier, or: Creativity forms verses

Sangeetha & David’s new poetry project

Once upon a time, two poets who’d never met in person began writing verses back and forth over the Internet. Their first project took them some nine months: a 100 verse Hyakuin.

Once they’d completed their first oeuvre, they continued their journey together; Sangeetha came up with a fun idea. Beginning in January ’22, they took turns selecting poetic forms beginning with the letters of the alphabet (A through Z) and wrote poems to one another using those forms.

Upon completing that second project, Sangeetha suggested they go through the alphabet once more but in their new series, for every letter of the alphabet (A through Z), they would select not only a poetic form but also – a keyword for each poem.

Eventually, they completed their third series and decided to embark on a fourth towards the end of 2022. This time, taking turns, they would create their own poetic forms for every letter of the alphabet (A through Z), and exchange poems, as they’d done before.

For ‘O’, David created the ‘O(c)tlier’ form.

O: O(c)tlier

David’s O(c)tlier

Aspirations and dreams long gone-
Assurance more whisper than song
To which I can't remember the lyrics.
Strangely, life has always felt wrong;
When was it I missed the tried prong
By wandering off from the throng?
Though tempted, I will not belong-
Black swan dazzled daily by dawn.

Sangeetha’s O(c)tlier

Wearing a new hat each morning,
I climb out of yesterday's skin,
Try out a never before thing;
One day I am race car driving,
The next day, I live like a djinn.
What am I today?
If these blithe lines you are reading,
You know I am O(c)tliering.


  • Eight lines total;
  • All lines but one have eight syllables;
  • One line (L3, L4, L5, or L6) has a different amount of syllables. That line is the ‘Outlier’;
    • The ‘Outlier’ must have either:
      1. six or less syllables;
      2. ten or more syllables;
  • All lines rhyme in monorhyme (off-rhyme is encouraged), other than the ‘Outlier’.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

9 thoughts on “The O(c)tlier, or: Creativity forms verses”

  1. Wow David… I love this form and these poems… yours is very deep, very relatable… Sangeetha’s more a pragmatic walk on the wild side… together a collab that’s heavily whimsical. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’

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