Why write an acrostic?

Most people find writing an acrostic difficult so, indeed, why write one? First, I think many people find them intriguing. They enjoy the ’emergence’ of a word arising from the first letter of each line. Reading an acrostic has a satisfying ‘feel’, like solving a puzzle. Second, it makes you think more deeply about a word. Instead of just seeing the word, each line forms an extension of the initial letter, giving a deeper insight into nuances of that word.

From the author’s point of view, the second aspect is the most rewarding and most challenging. It would be easy to make up random sentences containing the relevant initial letters. It is much more difficult to write lines that relate in some reflective manner to the ‘acrostic’ word. Writing a good acrostic is very difficult, but also very rewarding, because you have to work around the theme, exploring different aspects and meanings, until you land on a set of ideas that can be distilled into lines that start with the relevant letters.

It’s worth the effort. The acrostic poem compels the writer to think searchingly about a theme; hopefully, too, it makes the reader see a familiar idea from a new and intriguing angle.

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