…. excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Obscure Lyric Forms (vol. T)

Trivialet – poetic form in English (alternate nomenclature: in Louisiana this form is sometimes called the picayune or the bauble, and may be spelled trivialette; in the UK it is known as the trifle, trinket or frivol; in Australia, particularly Tasmania, it’s generally known as the flimsy; in New Zealand, the bagatelle; South Asian Anglophone speakers call it the paltry, or the froth.)

This form is noted for its use by poets who wish to write, briefly, about subjects of virtually no importance.

The trivialet always begins with the two words “I say,” and ends with the two words “So there.” Punctuation varies; no line may have more than three syllables; no stanza may have more than three lines; no trivialet may have more than three stanzas. Rhyme is optional; repetition is most commonly used for emphasis outside the USA, but is neither required nor rejected by the poets and critics of any nation. Many (perhaps most) trivialets, like the sample below, are untitled.

I say this
You know it
I see you

Know it well
As you should
After all

I told you
Yesterday!
Yes! So there.

Note: Louis Hibbard Thrall, the literary scholar to whom we are all indebted for his work on the trivialet, was working on two projects when he died – his Encyclopedia of Obscure Lyric Forms (he was up to volume T at the time of his death), and his collaboration with social psychologist Franklin Oliver Screitch. For the latter project, LHT was the primary source on relationships between the officiousness scale (OS) and the pomposity quotient (PQ) as demonstrated in blind research studies.

Judith Arcana

About Judith Arcana

Judith Arcana writes poems, stories, essays and books. One of her stories about abortion & tattoos came out as a zine in 2013 (Keesha and Joanie and JANE); two others are online at Serving House Journal. Her 2012 poetry chapbook is The Parachute Jump Effect, and her Maude poems, a project supported by grants from Oregon’s Regional Arts and Culture Council and Portland’s Celebration Foundation, are part of her new manuscript, Nickel Heart. Judith recently had a sandwich named for her at the lovely&amazing Fleur de Lis Bakery/Café in Portland, Oregon. Listen to her read on SoundCloud; visit http://www.juditharcana.com/
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