Acronym Poetics

created December 11 - 13, 2007 by Norman T. Thornton and presented by



A proposed creative acronym is found in Acronym Poetics wherein 2 or more acronyms are termed "individuals" in what is termed a "populous". Individuals are termed in 2 main parts, the "head" (initial letter) and the "body" (letters subsequent to the head). The letters comprising the body are termed "cells". A populous can be identified as belonging to a strata or "level". The cells of strata i are the heads of individuals of strata i + 1. Thus, this recursive stratification creates a multi-level "acronym" of at least 2 levels. Such an acronym's proposed term is "hyperword" since the idea of level in some respects parallels that of a hyperlink. For Acronym Poetics, acronyms are deliberately used poetically, creating a hyperword --- a kind of poetic write. The acronym as hyperword is rendered variously, for example in 3D, Hypertext Markup Language or even plain paper.

Quick Lesson 1.1 --- Dimension Tree
In Acronym Poetics, the acronym is considered as multi-dimensional poetic material (hyperword).  For a simple example,  consider the acronym "TOP" has three letters that stand for "Top Of Poles".  Let us say ""Top Of Poles" is the first dimension or first level beyond "TOP".  Eliminate "T", "O", and "P" (the initial letters of the dimension) and you have "op f oles" as acronym material for the second dimension.  So, consider an acronym for each of the second dimension letters (o, p, f, o, l, e, s)  For example:
    Old Politics From Our Leather English Shoes
might be the acronyms for the second dimension.  Eliminate the intial letters of the current dimension to use the remaining letters for the next dimension and so on.  Our curent example can be tree rendered thus:
  • Top Of Poles
    • Old Politics From Our Leather English Shoes

Herein, an ancronym is said to have a different spelling (spell-out) when say the acronym ME is spelled "My Experience" in one instance and "Multiple Expectations" in another. In Ancronym Poetics, the reuse of letters provides motif (visually and sonically) to a work whereas the re-spelling of the acronym provides variety.


Acronym creation can be a creative act, using one word to represent some other --- an act poetic. To compose a poetic write from acronyms, would compound the poetic effort. To then have multiple levels, where successive letters of each acronym are taken as acronyms, compounds the creative act even further than the creation of a one level poetic of acronyms. New acronyms become artlang (art language) intersecting the concept know as conlang (constructed language).

Proposed is a new literary method / form, Acronym Poetics. Each word of a typical acronym is of two parts, the initial letter of a word and the remaining letters of the word. Acronym Poetics proposes to use acronyms to generate other acronyms such that acronyms have levels of view beyond 2. Methods of taking about acronyms for a Acronym Poetics will be discussed as will rendering methods. some mathematics and the notion of a linearly stable minimum case.


Acronyms have of course existed for a very long time. They differ from abbreviations. Whereas an abbrevation is the truncation of a word and typically is completed with a period, an acronym is typically a word composed of the first letters of words. Acronyms are often rendered with the first letter of each word in uppercase and the follow on letters in lowercase. For example, GO is an acronym for Global Order. Acronym parts are not typically named beyond saying something like, "The first letter of a group of words is used to form the acronym." To show that a word is an acronym, various rendering methods are used. For example, stating the acronym and then placing the expanded version in a parenthesis -- GO (Global Order). Or, stating the expanded version with capital letters in bold and then using the acronym elswhere in the discussion "(My dear members of Parliment, they are still debating the Global Order, but I say it is a no GO."). Acronyms have certainly shown up in poetic writes, perhaps even entire poetic writes composed exclusively of acronyms, perhaps rendered to as far as level 2.


Claim 1: Where the unexpanded form of the acronym is considered level 1 and the expanded version level 2, an expansion to level 3 using level 2 like level 2 used level 1, that (and, the extension of that into even further levels) is believed to be new art.

Claim 2: Whereas acronyms have been used before, they have not been used exclusively and deliberately to form a poetic write with regard to Claim 1.

Claim 3: Whereas acronyms have been used before, they have not been marked up per the Acronymic Markup Language.

Claim 4: Whereas acronyms have been used before, they have not been rendered per the example given in link WalkGardenLightPath .

Claim 5: Whereas acronyms have been used before, they have not been explained per the linearly stable minimum case.

Claim 6: Whereas acronyms have been used before, they have not been explained per the general formulation stated below that maps field and level.

A glossary assosciated with acronym:



For discussion's sake, the whole is deconstructed and labled.

Hypothetical Acronymic Markup Language Table
"" populace, that is individual count > 1
( ) individual
[ ] head
{} body -- composed of cells (each letter = 1 natural cell)


Table Examplifying Input, Markup and Qualified Resulting Acronym
Coding Comment
Gift Of Lost Fables -> "( [G]{ift}) ([O]{f}) ([L]{ost}) ([F]{ables})" -> GOLF  
Gift 20 Of Lost Fables - > "( [G]{ift}) 20 ([O]{f}) ([L]{ost}) ([F]{ables})" -> GOLF none letters not included
gift of lost fables -> "( [g]{ift}) ([o]{f}) ([l]{ost}) ([f]{ables})" -> golf markup takes overules capitalization

Quotation marks enclose the acronymic string under discussion (two or more acronyms) --- the populace. Parenthesis enclose the acronym --- the individual. Square brackets enclose the acronym's first letter --- the head. Curly brackets encloses the acronym's remaining letters --- the body

We call the initial letter the head and the remaining part the body. The words that comprise an acronym we call the individuals. It does not matter if the individual is thought of first, bodies thought of first or the populace is thought of first. For each individual (either an existing one or one made up) various methods are employed for rendering the components (head, body and cells) of each populace. The populace can be stratified into different levels (layers). An individual in level 3 has a parent in level 2 and a parent of level 2 is an individual with a parent in level 1. Thus, in a manner of hierarchically speaking, the individuals belonging to the greater level number are children from cells of an individual of a lower level number. However, aside from a manner of speaking, an author may work bottom up or top down. That is, if an author finds it convenient to write all the higher level number children first and work toward the lower level number individuals, that is a matter of technique choice.


An Acronym Poetics might be written in various styles (sonnet, all caps, multiple lines, free verse, whatever). This example will examine expanding acronym to provide an understanding of multi-layering.

Consider a acronym level 1:


For the purpose of identifying each acronym, the populace can be shown in a table.

Acronym ID Table


whereby we obtain acronym level 2 listed here with each acronym expanded on a separate line:

  1. Water Along Lake Kitty
  2. Green Air Rose Day Ended Night
  3. Lamp In Glow Hot Tomorrow
  4. Pass Artful Tree Homes
Acronym Expansion Table
Level 1 populace with one individual per row Level 2 populace with multiple individuals per row
WALK Water Along Lake Kitty
GARDEN Green Air Rose Day Ended Night
LIGHT Lamp In Glow Hot Tomorrow
PATH Pass Artful Tree Homes


where it can be seen that "WALK" is an acronym for "Water Along Lake Kitty", "GARDEN" an acronym for "Green Air Rose Day Ended Night", etc.. Or, in our hypothetical Acronymic Markup Language,


"[W]{ater} [A]{long{ [L]{ake} [K]{itty}" ~ WALK

"[G]{reen} [A]{ir} [R]{ose} [D]{ay} [E]{nded} [N]{ight}" ~ GARDEN


"[P]{ass} [A]{rtful} [T]{ree} [H]{omes}" ~ PATH

Additional levels are of course possible. For example, level 2 up to the word "Night" taken to level 3:

ample time eats rot
lumber on needled ground

alive keep elk
in touch time yielding
roamed each elm's nettle
interlayed retrieved
or satisfied external
affirm yearnings
nipple dews elation drew
impassible giggles hosting tree

Acronym Expansion of some of level 2 yielding Level 3
Level 2 Level 3 - note that the 2nd letters of level 2 are the 1st of level 3!!!
Water ample time eats rot
Along lumber on needled ground
Lake alive keep elk
Kitty in touch time yielding
Green roamed each elm's nettle
Air interlayed retrieved
Rose or satisfied external
Day affirm yearnings
Ended nipple dews elation drew
Night impassible giggles hosting tree

where it can be seen that "ater" is a acronym for "ample time eats rot", "long" is an acronym for "lumber on needled ground", etc..

[Interesting side bar: Why the strike-throughs?

Consider the general formulation,

  • 0 > k < 1
  • field i maps to level i viewed only
  • whereas field i + k maps to level i and level i + 1 as both viewable.

Such that, where k=0.5, at field 1 you can see level 1 only, at field 1.5 you can see both level 1 and level 2, at field 2 you can see level 2 only, at field 2.5 you can see both level 2 and level 3, and at field 3 you can see level 3 only. Thus, the "only" cases are equivalent to strike-throughs of former levels.

(Now, when you reach the last individuals, it might be an academic question whether those letters are acronymic in the typical sense. We simply declare that they are --- at least potentially.)

So, the strike-throughs are here just for illustration purposes, so you can keep track of the progress.]

So, the deeper the view level, the more expanded the acronym. It might be thought that the deeper the view level the greater the possibility of new acronyms from upper acronyms, yet that is more a matter of technique --- working top down instead of bottom up!

Acronym View Summary Table
viewable text

Water Along Lake Kitty
Green Air Rose Day Ended Night
Lamp In Glow Hot Tomorrow
Pass Artful Tree Homes


ample time eats rot
lumber on needled ground

alive keep elk
in touch time yeilding
roamed each elm's nettle
interlayed retrieved
or satisfied external
affirm yearnings
nipple dews elation drew
impassible giggles hosting tree
arms maple parleyed
leave out wanting
or take
oblique mourning on right remains often wet
allure seep sweet
reprieve elusive escapades
on until winter engages sage

Capitalization, line layout, punctuation, tables, numbering and other topographic instances do not concern Acronym Poetics and were used here for illustrative purposes.


Various renderings are possible. For example, HTML displays in a 3 level view simply with color variation and tags (place your cursor over the first line of text for an example of the 3rd level):

Water Along Lake Kitty
Green Air Rose Day Ended Night
Lamp In Glow Hot Tomorrow
Pass Artful Tree Homes

Or, more elaborate layering as in this

Or, you can go as sophisticated as a 3D rendering:

3D Activation Instructions

-- Critical Steps

If you are using Internter Explorer version 6 or above, you must make "" and "" Trusted Sites, thus:

  1. go to Internet Explorer's menu bar
  2. select Tools
  3. select Internet Options
  4. select Security
  5. selected Trusted Sites
  6. click the button marked Sites
  7. uncheck the box marked Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone
  8. in the field Add this Web site to the zone paste
  9. click the button marked Add
  10. in the field Add this Web site to the zone paste
  11. click the button marked Add
  12. click the button marked OK to close the current window
  13. click the button marked OK on the next window (Internet Options) to close that window

-- What else do you need to get started?

To start using this demo, you will need the internet connected to a Windows computer that has a virtual reality plug-in installed, specifically

Install Cortona VRML Client! .

Other 3D browsers might not work.

It is recommended that you maximize your window. After you click the link below, use your PgDn key to navigate the text forward.


Note the artist choice, the progression from uppercase to lowercase lettering signaling an emphasis on the acronymic quality of the level 1 and level 2 populace.

Like the PoeticPantheon, soon there will be a tool for display of your own Acronym Poetics in 3D.


It might appear that the number of individuals always enlarges (geometrically) as the levels increase, a pyrimid notion. However, observe a linear progression in this, a linearly stable minimum case:

"NO ON":

"[N]o [O]n" ~ NO

"[O]n [N]o" ~ ON

can continue the same level after level where individuals swap places at each level. This stable case is called "minimum" in deference to the Acronym Poetics rule that a populace is geater than 1 individual.


The proposal for Acronym Poetics has presented a markup language (Acronym Markup Langauage --- AML), terms for speaking of acronyms and groups of acronyms, multiple levels of acronyms, recursion for acronym level generation, populace rendition methods, some math to illustrate the notion of field mapped to view, and a proof that there is a linearly stable minimum case in Acronym Poetics. To the authors knowledge, this is new art.


As a new field, there are many unknowns.

  1. What are the challenges working with acronyms as multil-leveled poeitc material that is different from the ordinary word?
  2. Are acronyms thus hyper-words?
  3. What will prove to be the normative number of levels for those working in the medium?
  4. What are the deeper mathematics?
  5. How many dictionary words can be used to form a tree that starts with a populace of 3 individuals each of 2 natural cells without repetition of individuals?
  6. Will having a language for speaking about acronyms prove useful for further research?
  7. Was question 6 answered with question 5?

The PoeticWrites Acronym Tree Project, seeks to become the most comphensive publicly available acronym resource for Acronym Poetics and, thus by extension, for acronym R&D in general. The tree will be open for all to use and contribute. The proposed interface to add an acronym will be easy: just type it in! The Acronym Tree program will then automatically insert it into the tree where appropriate. Acronym poets can then use applications by Acronym Poetics developers to create Acronym Poetic works. Return here for the proposed access web page.

And, we look to you to provide the future --- questions and answers.

You can contact us.


Quick Lesson 2.1 --- XML Tree
Extensible Markup Language (XML) can be used to describe data.  Modern web browsers will automatially display a XML  document as a tree. 

Writing in XML is easy.  Writing in XML for Acronym Poetics can be extremely easy since the only tag is name "acronym" when using the Simple Acronym Poetics XML (SAcroPo XML) protocol .  To start a XML file, use this header declaration:   
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>

Quick Lesson 1.2 --- Dimension Tree
Another spelling of the "TOP" acronym might be "Toe On Pie".  And, thus the tree:
  • Top Of Poles
    • Old Politics From Our Leather English Shoes
  • Toe On Pie 
Shows "TOP" with multipule dimensions, a 2 level one ("Top Of Poles", "Old Politics From Our Leather English Shoes") and a 1 level one ("Toe On Pie").  "Top Of Poles" and "Toe On Pie" are siblings, same level children of "TOP".  This can be rendered in creative configuration such as:
top toe     on pie
Top Of Poles    old
From Our Leather
English Shoes
where attention is paid to level ancestory yet not to sibling order-- and, the rest is a matter of creativity.
Quick Lesson 2.2 --- XML Tree
For the example in Quick Lesson 1.2, the XML file content is:

                    Top Of Poles
                            Old Politics From Our Leather English Shoes
                    Toe On Pie

where <acronym> is the start tag and </acronym> is the end tag. The start / end tag pair enclose values (for example "TOP" in this case) and children (tags or values).  See it!

A compliant SAcroPo XML application can read the XML, understand the structure, and render the poetics to a particular style (visual or otherwise). See it!