Why Bother With The Fibonacci Poem.

Where Did It Start?

As most readers of The Fib Review know, the Fibonacci poem is a new phenomenon made popular by Gregory K. Pincus on his Gottabook blog. His invitation for readers of his blog to send this unique six-line poem created a blogosphere-wide gold rush of Fibonacci poems. Mr. Pincus’ blog invitation, the responses he received, and the subsequent article by Motoko Rich in the April 14, 2006 issue of the New York Times that discussed this new phenomenon brought the Fibonacci poem to the forefront.

What Is It?

The Fibonacci sequence is a mathematical sequence in which every figure is the sum of the two preceding it. Thus, you begin with 1 and the sequence follows as such: 1+1=2; then in turn 1+2=3; then 2+3=5; then 3+5=8 and so on. For literary purposes the sequence stops at 8 using each number as a set of syllabic counts. The sequence is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, and 8. Each number represents the number of syllables that a writer places in each line of the ‘poem.’ As a literary device, it is used as a formatted pattern in which one can offer meaning in an organized way.

A close distant relative might be the Japanese haiku in which one of the traditional haiku tenets is the syllabic count of each line. In English, the traditional count has been a poem of three lines. The first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, and the third line is 5 syllables. The haiku in English has matured and changed over the years to reflect more of a focus on content than an exact syllabic count, but the syllables help to keep focused in a way that disciplines the poet.