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Introducing Tapestry: An Experimental Genre of Poetry

by Shernaz Wadia Bookmark and Share

Experimental and innovative, this form of poetry composition is poetry in partnership between Avril Meallem and myself. 

We chose to call it “Tapestry” because this word beautifully captures the sentiment and essence of the form. It is artistic and creative, colorful and complex, expressing and intertwining two perspectives, two different thought processes into a rich tapestry of words. When the variegated threads, warp and weft of two distinctly individual poems are woven together the result is an aesthetic wordscape that is enjoyable for the writers and pleasing to the readers. But this tapestry is not just a decorative piece to be hung in the hall of poetry. It is a new art form, which we hope will catch on and bring together poets from distant lands and different cultures to forge strong relationships. Poetry, we all know, has no borders - I am an Indian Zoroastrian and Avril a British/Israeli Jewess.

The two of us met in Mumbai in Feb 2010 when she was on a visit to India. She told me about a form of co-operative poetry that she had learnt some years ago from another poet, Sarah Wurtzel, in Jerusalem and suggested that may be we could try it, because she said that from our postings on Muse India she had always felt we were kindred spirits. I agreed and so on her return to Israel we embarked on what has turned out to be a very creative, sometimes challenging and exciting adventure. 

The original idea that Avril had come across was that each poet writes 9 lines on a given subject.  Then the originator of the title would interweave the two poems line by line with minimal editing. Initial trials proved this to be a hit and miss method. So we decided to remodel the whole idea and give ourselves greater flexibility in editing, making it a joint effort. Thus was born our present Tapestry Poetic form. 

This is how it works. Two writers, compose a poem each on a common topic chosen by one of them. This role alternates with each poem. Then the poems are exchanged. We work on interlacing them into one seamless, flowing piece that can stand on its own. Being a collaborative effort the editing becomes a to and fro process, till each writer is satisfied with the end product.
Other than this we follow these basic rules:

  • Each individual poem has to be of no more or less than 9 lines
  • Only the person who gives the title has the option of actually using it in the poem. This is to avoid repetition.
  • The majority of words of the original poems should be kept but a few grammatical changes can be incorporated e.g. singular to plural, verb tense changes, etc.
  • Adjectives and adverbs can be replaced with others more befitting the Tapestry but retaining the original flavor.
  • All 9 lines of each poem to be used in the Tapestry, which effectively makes it an 18 line poem

So far we have about 15 tapestry poems to our credit. After we have written a few more we plan to bring them out in book form. Here are two Tapestry poems to give you a better idea of how this actually works. 

In Your Smiles
– Shernaz’s version

Are you hurt that
I don’t write poems for you?

If I tried to pen it in blood,
or carved open my heart
I would still fall short
of expressing my love.
Blessed I am to have you both;
In your loving smiles
My happiness you hold.

(Dedicated to my sweet daughters.)

In Your Smiles
- Avril’s version
I enter your room
You cannot speak
Nor raise your hand to take mine
But when you smile
And your eyes light up
Words become superfluous
Our souls connect
beyond time and form
in the vastness of eternity

In Your Smiles

I enter your room
Are you hurt that
You cannot speak?
That I don’t write poems for you?
Nor raise your hand to take in mine?

If I try to pen it in blood,
or carve open my heart
Words become superfluous;
I still fall short
of expressing my love.
But when you smile
Blessed I feel to have you;
And, as your eyes light up
Our souls connect.

In your loving smiles,
beyond time and form,
My happiness you hold
In the vastness of eternity.

- Shernaz’s version
The Word was uttered
And Life sprang up
In beauteous splendor
To pay obeisance
To His Eternal Will
Ever since it has been
An ongoing love affair…
This rapturous desire of Life
To procreate itself. 

- Avril’s version
The music began
Slowly, almost imperceptibly,
instrument after instrument added its voice.
Conductor, musicians, audience.
All held in rapture
by the ascending melody.
It was as if Heaven had opened
and drenched us all
in it’s celestial symphony.
The Word was uttered
The music began 
and Life sprang up
Slowly, almost imperceptibly…
In beauteous splendor
instrument after instrument added its voice,
to pay obeisance
to His Eternal Will.
Conductor, musicians, audience,
all held in rapture
by the ascending melody.
Ever since it has been
an ongoing love affair…
It was as if Heaven had opened
this rapturous desire of Life
and drenched us all,
to procreate itself,
in it’s celestial symphony  

More by : Shernaz Wadia
Views: 4849      Comments: 9

Comments on this Poem Article

Comment What a wonderful confluence of poetic sensibilities effortlessly synthesised into a scintillating symphony.Great efforts and grand offer.Congrats Shernaz and Avril !

N S Ramachandran
31-Jul-2015 00:00 AM

Comment A very informative piece on how creative communication, cooperation, and collaboration can produce magic and innovation in poetry. The tapestry poems in the article are lovely. I'm a great admirer of Avril's and your Tapestry poems as also your individual ones because both of you are magicians with words that just flow and weave themselves seamlessly into great poetry. Kudos and respects to you both dear Shernaz and dear Avril. Keep delighting us with your Tapestry Poems and more.

Padmaja Iyengar
06-Sep-2013 00:00 AM

Comment Dear Shernaz,
Lovely. Exciting in fact. It must be so satisfying to give shape to a new form.
Way to go, Girl . . . :)

Kala Ramesh
13-Feb-2013 00:00 AM

Comment Dear J S Broca,

Yes, we certainly are serious about making this form popular and interest is trickling in from various sources. One of our Tapestry poems, published in, has recently been translated into Hindi by blogger Diwakar A. Here is the link to the translated work

I would not say we have mastered it but each new Tapestry poem we succeed in weaving is a reward in itself teaching us as we go along.

Thank you for your enthusiastic, appreciative and encouraging response.

26-May-2011 23:11 PM

Comment Dear Shernaz and Avril,my best compliments to you both for making sincere efforts to popularize this experimentational form of poetry aptly titled TAPESTRY.By now you both have mastered the art as seen from the feedback from readers on YS of MI and now on Boloji.I think you both are perhaps the first women duo to take on this poetic journey of discovery and I hope you will surely add a rich stock of such poems for readers of such poetry forms.GBU both.Carry on !!

26-May-2011 22:25 PM

Comment We too hope this form interests others and they will form their own teams to write out Tapestry. Once you get into it, it is very interesting and challenging as I have mentioned in the write-up. Thank you for your encouragement and appreciation.

07-Jan-2011 05:15 AM

Comment Dear Shernaz,
Thanks for the info and two lovely poems. Congrats. I wish that this form of poetry finds favour with all poets and soon becomes very popular and satisfying pattern.

Wishing you all good wishes for 2011 and ever after.

Sony Dalia
07-Jan-2011 03:31 AM

Comment That's very generous of you Mallick. A million thanks. Plenty of good wishes for the year 2011 to you and all members, readers, visitors to this site.

04-Jan-2011 03:58 AM

Comment Very nice to read the introduction and the lovely poems. Happy New Year.

03-Jan-2011 22:21 PM


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