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Infinite Gloss


Generative Method, Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Other Requirement


Okay, this is the ugliest form to create and the hardest to implement. It involves creating a group of poems based on a relatively low number of lines. The poems should be able to gloss each other. For instance, say you have six lines, three a rhymes and three b rhymes, and you want to create an infinite gloss in envelope tercets. The permutations allow for 36 different tercets based on the rhyme scheme and these six lines. Each tercet line has to link to a glossing tercet. This gives a minimum of 108 connections or pathways between tercets. Now, imagine doing this with sonnets or longer verse forms. Implementation is another factor. To implement this properly, it should be done as a Website or even a random generation database. The reader has to be able to link from one stanza’s line to its glossing stanza or glossing possibilities.

Another example of the mathematics of an infinite gloss. Say you have twenty lines of supporting verse, ten each of "a" rhyme and "b" rhyme. You want to produce an infinite gloss with quatrains with a rhyme scheme af abab, abba, or aabb. You have twenty different end lines. You have nine choices to match that rhyme. You then have ten choices for the first opposing line and nine for the second opposing line. This gives you 20*9*10*9=16,200 possible quatrains. Something of this size would need an autogenerating database to go from one quatrain to the next.

For ease of implementation, you could limit the scope of how your Infinite Gloss is done. For instance, in the last example, you could decide to have one or two poems per last line. If two, then they could link to each other. If one, then the combination of possible pathways is simplified to something very manageable.

Like with a ghazal where each couplet must be able to stand on its own, in the infinite glose each line must be able to stand not only on its own, but also support any other line. As you try to create with more lines to make greater possibilities, this becomes more difficult.

This form can also be called the Redoublé Redoubled or the Recombinatorial Gloss.

Attributed to: 

“The Dread Poet Roberts”




It can provide for practically infinite recombinatorial variety. A reader might get bored before fully exploring the poem.

It might be good for more surrealistic works as a generative method, where the lines wouldn't necessarily be all co-supportive, but rather tangential like the waka or other Japanese forms.


The bigger it is, the harder it is to implement.

Because each line has to be both independent and mutually supporting, it is difficult to create enough lines about a subject to keep this from getting boring

Starting Point: 

First how are you going to implement it? Will it be in a computer program? Will it be through a database? A Website? Static or dynamic?

Choose your mathematics second. Will all lines be isosyllabic? How many total lines will you have? How many lines per stanza? How many different rhymes? Then you can actually choose a subject and start writing the lines.


See Also:  

Double Glose, Form Redoubled, Glose, Mad Song Stanza, Top Glose




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