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Suzette Prime - the story behind it

by Suzette Richards

The following is an extract from my blog dated August 7, 2013: © Suzette Prime - a dream come true.

How did I come up with the new poetry form, © SUZETTE PRIME (2012)?

As some of you know, I am not a great fan of syllable counts - the main reason is that I am mildly dyslexic and spelling phonetically all my life, which made it difficult for me to express myself in some of the poetry forms where a syllable count is important. I tackled the problem (like I do with most things in life) by facing the challenge head-on. Secondly, Philosophy is a long-standing passion of mine. I have read the classics as well as the modern philosophers. … [To this end, I completed the Introduction to Philosophy through Edinburgh University in April 2013.]

In 2012 when I had started to pen a few crude haiku in honour of a good friend, I came to the realization that many of the haiku written by Basho actually contain philosophical statements - little gems of human nature contained in a reference to nature. But, I wished to say more - much more. 'The Fish Eagle’ was the first Suzette Prime I penned … In December 2012 I hosted a contest on inviting poets to write poetry using the new Suzette Prime poetry form. It coincided with listing Suzette Prime as a new poetry form.


My poem, Time, lent its name to my self-published anthology (plus 9 international poets – winners in my first ever Suzette Prime contest held at, © Time—Suzette Prime Poetry 2014.

The earlier philosophers had all written their scientific and other theses in the form of poems. Poetry, over the ages, had lent itself to the expression of emotions; to heal the spirit; as entertainment; a teaching tool, and many more applications. I find poetry a great vehicle to express my thoughts, often allowing me to voice an opinion in a manner that might be palatable to an audience, mimicking the practice of the ancient philosophers.

Suzette Prime design

A syllabic form

Prime number syllable count: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc; PLUS a philosophical statement. Any combination of a prime number syllable count may be used per line; in open form/free verse and no formal stanzas. Vary the line lengths (no set sequence is required) to create a pleasing cadence or to stress certain points (it has echoes of the ‘variable foot’ introduced by William Carlos Williams in his triadic-line poetry), for example:


every day

     every hour

          every minute of my day

is another chance for a different path


The line breaks serve as punctuation (suggested maximum of 23 syllables in any given line to allow for breathing) and no capital letters are used, except in the case of proper nouns. Any topic which lends itself to a philosophical statement is suitable for Suzette Prime. It is usually presented flush left on the page.



A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. As with the Fibonacci sequence, prime numbers are also found in nature: It was found that cicadas only leave their burrows at intervals of 7, 13, or 17 years, depending on the species.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument & thought.



you cannot calculate my legacy in monetary value

or in market shares

neither in some property

nor anything tangible


I leave you my soul

recorded in poetry

and thoughts

I share

with those of you with an ear for the essence of me

but unlike Keats not have my name written in water

© Suzette Richards 2014

NB No part of my designed poetic forms may be copied/used in any manner, including the unique names of the poetic forms - it would constitute Paraphrasing plagiarism