The Pyramid of Clarity – A poem to practice word choice techniques

The Pyramid of Clarity – A poem to practice word choice techniques

The Pyramid of Clarity

The Pyramid of Clarity is a recently created short poetic form. Like most short forms, the key to success is choosing your words wisely. Therefore, it is a great option for you to practice word selection techniques.

The first line is the keystone of the entire poem. All other lines exist to support and define this one word. In other words, they clarify this word for the reader.


Jerry P. Quinn, financial strategist and poet, is the architect of the Pyramid of Clarity. Constructed the poetic form in 2002.


— Three stanzas that consist of two triplets and a final explanatory line.

— The base of the clarity pyramid is the first line, which is a one-syllable word.

— The first line must be in capital letters.

— Each subsequent line increases in syllable count by one – except for the fourth line, which increases by two.

Structure of the form:


2 syllables

3 syllables

5 syllables

6 syllables

7 syllables

“8 syllables”

—There are also criteria in the construction of each line.

Remember that the first line must be one word of one syllable and must also be in capital letters. This line has the additional function of being the title of the poem. Here’s what to keep in mind as you build the rest of the lines.

The second and third lines should explain or be synonyms of the word in the first line. All the lines in the second stanza must describe a life event related to the word in the first line. The eighth and final line should be in quotation marks and further describe the first line.

This particular rule bothers me and would be one of the first rules I would break with my poetry performer license. I don’t like to use quotes unless I’m quoting someone or using them to show dialogue.

CULD HAVES or What is the poet’s choice in all this?

—You can choose to center the poem or not. Many poets choose center alignment to create a visual pyramid, but this is not a requirement.

— The use of rhyme and meter, although I would recommend neither for this short form.

—What language is your first word. Actually, what language is your whole poem in, but since I’m an English-speaking poet – I’ll speak from that point of view.

NEW VARIATION 1: I love words and thought it would be interesting to take a word in another language for the first word and then use the rest of the poem to “make it clear” in English. (This can also be a good opportunity for non-English speakers to take an English word and use the rest of the poem to “explain” it in their native language.) Since many languages ​​use many syllables in their words, this might it’s time to take the Clarity Pyramid to the next level and create another new variation (see below).

NEW OPTION 2: Follow the rules set in place, but change the number of syllables to the number of words.


Jerry P. Quinn won several poetry contests and many of his poems were published.

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