ABOUT THE (CONTRAPUNTAL) TRINITAS
Samantha Terrell has not so much written to fulfill the needs of a particular form as discovered the only form that can do justice to this exceptional and spellbinding piece of poeticism. Initially I was concerned at having to negotiate the paths of this extended poem, but my hesitation was quickly forgotten as I abseiled down and across her ingeniously worked phrases and images.
- Roger Hare, Pushcart Prize Nominee
What is a contrapuntal trinitas
A contrapuntal "trinitas" ("three in one") is an experimental form of poetry written to create (at least) three distinct, but related, poems in one.
Unlike a cleave or a dialectic, the trinitas liberates both poet and reader with its free verse style and stanza flexibility. A trinitas need not so much set up opposing arguments, as present varying twists on one or two topics.
While Terrell doesn't wish to place limitations on how other poets may attempt this form, she recommends keeping the stanzas to 6-8 lines when possible. Indeed, most of Terrell's trinitas poems use approximately four or fewer lines per stanza, which she feels assists the reader in appreciating a continuous flow of the piece.
Ultimately, a trinitas may be approached by reading first, in a zig-zag manner, scanning back and forth through the stanzas; second, from the top, but reading only the stanzas on the left side of the page; and third, from the top, but reading only the stanzas aligned on the right. All three pieces within the one, will exhibit value and meaning in their own right.
The contrapuntal trinitas (so-named because another title for this form did not heretofore present itself) also bears a slight resemblance to Zuihitsu, a 10th century Japanese form. Poetry Foundation offers the following definition of Zuihitsu: This capacious genre incorporates nonfiction, musings and confessions, poetry, and miscellany to create a spontaneous, layered text.