Tell Me a Fib

IMG_3619The fib, short for Fibonacci Poem, is a form of syllable-counting poetry invented in the late 20th century. As you can imagine, the syllables in the fib follow the Fibonacci sequence — a number sequence that starts with 1 and proceeds as long as you want it to, with each following number being the sum of the two numbers before it.

Thus: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, . . . .

A fib poem is typically six lines long, but it needn’t be. It could be shorter (though that might make it difficult to discern as a fib), it could be longer.

write fibs
for this blog
to illustrate how
more syllables make longer lines.

A fib could go up to a certain number, then go backward to the beginning, as in 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1 1.

write fibs
for this blog
to illustrate how
more syllables make longer lines,
but I fear that more syllables
don’t always equal
profound truths:
much less

After I explored writing several different kinds of syllable poems (see The Tanka: 17 Plus 14 Equals 31), I stumbled upon the fib. Immediately I was attracted to its shape as well as its concept.

Although most fibs may stop at the sixth line, I found myself wanting to push the envelope — to write the maximum number of syllables that would come out as one line on a page. (Without reducing the type size to Agate or less!)

As it turned out, I learned that I could fit 13 syllables on one line of type. But not 21. Here’s a fib that comes from Crossing the Skyway, my collection of poems.


of humble portals
against omnipresent dangers,
guard our house against woeful threats — toss aside sickness,
trample downsizing, gore unemployment, charge headlong
into evictors until all
retreat, forgoing

Of the four types of syllable counting poems I’ve explored (haiku, cinquain, tanka, and fib), the cinquain and the fib interest me the most. Both have very recognizable shapes, and I find these shapes intriguing.


There are one or more fibs in Barbara Gregorich’s Crossing the Skyway. The rest is truth.

One thought on “Tell Me a Fib

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