June 19, 2024


Bring Out Techno

The Clarity Pyramid – Poem to Practice Word Choice Techniques

The Clarity Pyramid

The Clarity Pyramid is a recently created short poetry form. Like most short forms, the key to success is to choose your words wisely. Because of this, it is a great option for you to practice word choice techniques.

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


Jerry P. Quinn, a financial strategist and poet, is the architect of the Clarity Pyramid. He constructed the poetry form in 2002.


—Three stanzas which are made up of two triplets and a final clarifying line.

—The foundation of the clarity pyramid is the first line, which is a single syllable word.

—The first line must be in capital letters.

—Each successive line is increased in syllabic count by one – except the forth line, which increases by two.

Form Structure:


2 syllables

3 syllables

5 syllables

6 syllables

7 syllables

“8 syllables”

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

Remember, the first line must be a single, one-syllable word and must also be capitalized. This line has the added function of being the title of the poem. Here is what you must keep in mind as you build rest of the lines.

Line two and line three must clarify or be synonyms of the word in the first line. All the lines in the second stanza must describe a life event linked to the word in the first line. The eighth and final line must be in quotations and further describe the first line.

That particular rule bothers me, and would be one of the first rules I would break with my poetry contractor’s license. I don’t like using the quotes unless I am – well, quoting someone or using them in order to show dialogue.

COULD HAVES or What’s The Poet’s Choice In All This?

—You may choose to center align the poem or not. Many poets choose center alignment in order to create a visual pyramid, but it isn’t a requirement.

—The use of rhyme and meter, although I wouldn’t recommend either for this short form.

—What language your first word is in. Actually, what language your entire poem is in, but since I am an English speaking poet – I will speak from this perspective.

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 “clarify” it in English. (This could also be a good opportunity for non-native English speakers to take an English word and use the rest of the poem to “clarify” it in their native tongue.) Because many languages use a lot of syllables in their words, this might be the time to take the Clarity Pyramid to the next level and create another new variation (See below).

NEW VARIATION 2: Follow the rules set in place, but change the syllabic count to word count.


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