A Reverso Poem is a poem intended to be read top to bottom and then, again, from bottom to top and, in doing, the poem reads completely differently.

Marilyn Singer has written a handful of books that follow this (delightful) conceit. Follow Follow is a book that introduces reversos to us. Mirror Mirror is a book of reversos that deal with various fairy tales. Echo Echo is a book of reversos dealing with Greek Myths.

If you or someone you know loves poetry and wordplay, you owe it to them or to yourself to pick these books up and devour them straightaway.
Here. I’ll give a couple of examples.

Here’s the one called “Birthday Suit” that deals with the Emperor’s New Clothes:

Behold his glorious majesty:
Who dares say he drained the treasury
This emperor has
Sublime taste in finery!
Only a fool could fail to see.

Now read it the other way.

Only a fool could fail to see.
Sublime taste in finery?
This emperor has-
Who dares say he drained the treasury?
Behold his glorious majesty!

And, just one more, this one is about Hades and Persephone. Well, it’s mostly about Demeter. But it’s about Demeter being about Hades and Persephone.

I hate the thief.
Do not ask that
I forgive Hades.
will turn to
will leave this land cold and dark.
this mother’s lonely
shed no
I feel such
No more
Flowers blooming, trees in leaf
There will be
six months of grief
so much joy and laughter.

Ah, but now read it the other way:

So much joy and laughter
six months of grief.
There will be
flowers blooming, trees in leaf.
No more
I feel such
Shed no
This mother’s lonely
will leave this land, cold and dark.
will turn to
I forgive Hades
Do not ask that
I hate the thief.

Isn’t that *AWESOME*?
The books are *FULL* of these wonderful little poems that jump back and forth depending on where you start to read them.

These books are a treat, front to back. You, seriously, need to get your hands on a copy of any or all of them.

So… what are you reading?

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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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4 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. One of my all-time favorite grade-school units was when we did a unit on different poetry types, and wrote some of our own (I was eight, so the teacher did not make us attempt Spenserian sonnets!) but I don’t remember ever hearing of Reversos before. Those are cool.


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