Tuesday, November 21, 2023


 An Invitation and Introduction to the “Monobon” Poetry Form

I like creating new poetry forms, and previously invented three: the hay(na)ku, the MDR Poetry Generator, and the Flooid. I’m delighted to share my fourth such invention which I hope will interest other poets in writing through the form:


Monobon: a poetic form comprised of prose and ending with a monostich or one-line poem. 


My essay on how I developed the monobon is available on Marsh Hawk Press’ “Chapter One” series program. The essay contains several examples of the monobon by several poets with whom I brainstormed the conceptual underpinnings to this new form. 


Meanwhile, I’m pleased to share a folio of monobon poems in The Halo Halo Review. These poems are written by the first poets to write in the form—it’s unusual to create a form and know who are the first to write in it, so I list the poets in the order I receive their monobons. I am very grateful they were interested in taking up this form. Please click on their names below to see their poems and a bio about them:


Luisa A. Igloria

Rachielle Ragasa Sheffler

Sheila E. Murphy

Bruce W. Niedt

Leny M. Strobel

Carol Dorf

Sandy Mcintosh

Thomas Fink

Zosimo Quibilan, Jr.

William Allegrezza

Julia Rose Lewis

Aileen Cassinetto

harry k stammer

Skye Ibarra

Maica Castillo

Jashley C. Laconico

Jenny Ortuoste

Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo


You also can see my monobons which I chose to feature some of the monobon variations:


Eileen R. Tabios

Diary—original Monobon

Monobonbon—Radical Leap Monobon & Found Monobon

Sheena’s Monobon – Occasional Monobon

Save the Children—Reverse Monobon & Found Monobon

The Opposite of Jazzy—Found Monobon & Fishing Line Monobon

Dear Chocolates—Epistolary Monobon


Other variations have been created for the monobon (see below). After learning about the monobon and reading some examples, perhaps you will try writing your own monobon.


If you know of my first poetry form invention, the hay(na)ku, you will know that I am open to variations on the form. I encourage poets, not just to write monobon poems but also, to create variations. As of this writing, there currently exist seven variations to the basic monobon of prose plus monostich. These variations are


Reverse Monobon, conceived by Thomas Fink, of the monostich followed by the prose (an example HERE);


Found Monobon, conceived by Sandy McIntosh, where the prose component is a “found” text (authored by someone else) and the following monostich it inspires (an example HERE);


Monobon Fishing Line, which I conceived, as prose followed by a very long monostich—perhaps even longer than the prose—to evoke a long fishing line when it’s cast out over water (an example HERE); 


Epistolary Monobon, which I conceived, as a letter whose sign-off is the monostich (an example HERE);


Occasional Monobon, which I conceived, as a poem that would celebrate or address occasions like birthdays, graduations, holidays, etc. (an example HERE); 


Radical Leap Monobon which I conceived to propose “radicalizing” that space between the prose and monostich so that the monostich cannot be predicted by the prior prose (further explained HERE); and 


Book Cover Monobon, which I also conceived (as inspired by Sandy McIntosh’s found monobons), in the form of prose separated by a monostich. Visually, this format would look like














As you can see by the above diagram, this monobon could evoke a book cover where the first paragraph is the front cover, the monostich the spine, and the second paragraph the back cover—hence, its name of “Book Cover Monobon.”


I hope that poets who write in a variety of styles are interested in not just writing a monobon as conceived but in creating variatiions.


In writing the monobon, I encourage you to ensure that the poem’s one line is effective or resonant or however you define a poem so that the one line works successfully as a monostich or stand-alone poem. Have fun with this new form, which I consider with such affection that I even give it a nickname: monobonbon to evoke the sweet bonbon candy.


—Eileen R. Tabios



Eileen R. Tabios has released over 70 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental prose from publishers around the world. In 2023 she released the poetry collection Because I Love You, I Become War; an autobiography, The Inventor; and a flash fiction collection collaboration with harry k stammer, Getting To One. Her award-winning body of work includes invention of the hay(na)ku, a 21st century diasporic poetic form; the MDR Poetry Generator that can create poems totaling theoretical infinity; the “Flooid” poetry form that’s rooted in a good deed; the monobon poetry form based on the monostich.  Translated into 13 languages, she also has edited, co-edited or conceptualized 15 anthologies of poetry, fiction and essays. Her writing and editing works have received recognition through awards, grants and residencies. More information is at http://eileenrtabios.com

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