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A Sevenling is a poem of seven lines with similar structure to this poem by Anna Akhmatova:[1]

He loved three things alone:
White peacocks, evensong,
Old maps of America.

He hated children crying,
And raspberry jam with his tea,
And womanish hysteria.

… And he married me.[2]


Lines one to three should contain three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. This can take up all of the three lines or be contained anywhere within them.

Lines four to six should similarly have three elements (statements, details, names, or possibilities) connected directly or indirectly or not at all.

The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or an unusual juxtaposition.

While there are no set metrical rules, because of its form, some rhythm, meter and/or rhyme is desirable. The visual structure of the form is two stanzas of three lines, with a solitary seventh line last line. Titles are not required. The original convention was to titled the sevenling: "Sevenling (followed by the first few words in parentheses)", but the form has evolved to other title conventions including dropping "Sevenling" completely from the title.

Sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing, giving a feeling that only part of the story is being told.


Roddy Lumsden invented the form about ten years ago[when?] as part of a teaching exercise.[citation needed]

Poets like Sherman Alexie[3] and Richard Garcia have published the form.


  1. ^ Lumsden, Roddy. "Sevenlings by Roddy Lumsden". American Poetry Journal. ISSN 1547-6650. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  2. ^ He loved three things alone … from Akhmatova, Anna; D M Thomas (trans.) (1998). Selected Poems. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140424645. 
  3. ^ "Sevenlings - Sherman Alexie". Mudlark Flash No. 48. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-10.