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A McWhirtle is a type of poem that resembles a double dactyl, but with no rigid rules for construction. This type of poem is popular with rhymers and stylistic poets.

The McWhirtle was invented by Bruce Newling in 1989, making it one of the more recent inventions in the American poetic tradition. Although they are closely inspired by the double dactyl poem, they do not require nearly as many rules for its composition.

Unlike the double dactyl, the McWhirtle does not require a nonsense phrase in the beginning. Nor does it need a double-dactylic word or extra unstressed syllable in the following lines. The meter of the McWhirtle is the same as a double dactyl, the writer has more freedom to move the syllables around how they please.

With a McWhirtle, the author has more freedom to add stylistic devices and other creative elements to make the poem truly their own. The name McWhirtle hails from Bruce Newling’s first McWhirtle poem, with a named protagonist. 

A light verse form similar to a double dactyl, invented in 1989 by American poet Bruce Newling. McWhirtles share essentially the same form as double dactyls, but without the strict requirements, making them easier to write.


An example by American poet Kenn Nesbitt:

Fernando the Fearless
We're truly in awe of
Fernando the Fearless
who needed no net
for the flying trapeze.
Alas, what a shame
it's surprisingly difficult
catching a bar
in the midst of a sneeze.

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