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Spotlight: Billy Collins Breaks Down “ZipOde” Poetry

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Again this year, 90.7 WMFE is asking residents to write a “ZipOde.” That’s a short poem based on your zip code. 90.7’s Nicole Darden Creston is joined by former U.S. Poet Laureate – and experienced ZipOde composer – Billy Collins to help explain the “ZipOde” form.

Here’s how it works: You write out your zip code vertically. Each of the numbers tells you how many words you can have per line. (See the photo above).

Collins said all types of poems that have a specific form with restrictions, such as the Haiku, present the poet with pushback.

“You start to write but the form begins to correct you…and so you begin to negotiate with the restrictions of the form and out of that negotiation comes some kind of creative product,” said Collins.

Listen to the rest of his Spotlight interview by clicking on the audio player above!

More information on submitting your own ZipOde and the upcoming  ZipOde Throwdown here.

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