wrote the final word, for, in a poem titled Against—it so spoke
to that title, I thought it deserved to be a title in its own right. That’s how the double-title poem was born.
to give older forms
like the sonnet and
villanelle a run for
their relevance in
the quantum world
we now inhabit.
My book contains
79 of more than
that have appeared
in poetry journals
since the first six
debuted in Mudlark
in 2016. I hope they
suppleness of the
double-title for just
about any mood,
even light—and that
they tempt other
poets to explore this
A New Fixed Form for our Unhinged Age . . .
Spooky Action at a Distance—a collection of 79 double-title poems—includes irreverent, insightful commentary on subjects both current and timeless. The poetic form is Alpaugh's invention. Masterfully versified with taut control of form and content, on topics ranging from the high precision of science and mathematics to the vagaries and subjectivity of art, this unique collection contains a endless supply of wit, witticism, wonders, and revelations.
Praise for Spooky Action . . .
“I can’t count how many times I laughed out loud while reading David Alpaugh’s Spooky Action at a Distance. Alpaugh’s wit is so original, so outlandish, so outrageous, that at first it’s hard to believe he’s pulling off one after another of these double-title poems, a form he invented and one that could not be better suited to his brilliant, iconoclastic mind. From childhood to history to mythology to politics to literature and back, Alpaugh takes us on a magical mystery tour through a universe of his own making. If you want delight informed by wisdom, humor laced with sharply observed social commentary, and entry into a world you never thought could exist, all you have to do is open this astonishingly inventive book.”
—Lynne Knight, author of The Persistence of Longing.
“Alpaugh’s wit—in the old high metaphysical sense of that word—is the primary source of his power and virtue. He is an insatiably curious man who somehow manages to get everything into his poems. In Spooky Action at a Distance, Alpaugh is all about serious play and endlessly capable of surprise. Tracking the moves he makes connecting double-title after double-title is its own reward, a pleasure so pure as not to be missed.”
—William Slaughter, editor, Mudlark.
“David Alpaugh’s Spooky Action at a Distanceoffers readers a cornucopia of delights, complications, and some truly moving insights—all in an intriguing new form of his own invention. Alpaugh’s double-title form shows how two titles can be separate, like two photons miles apart, yet “entangled” in meaning and intent. Alpaugh is an excellent poetic space travel guide. This collection reminds me of the language used to describe properties of quarks—strangeness and charm. Alpaugh’s poems are structured, but still filled with plenty of actual strangeness and charm. And one need not enter a particle accelerator to discover these surprises. Just get this book!”
Double-titles have two five-line stanzas. Titles are limited to one word each. The first reads into the poem or announces its opening motif. The first word in stanza two is identical to the first title and is italicized. At least one word in the last two lines rhymes with the exit title. Poems may be metrical or open. If open, lines should be as even in length as possible. End rhyme is to be avoided, but internal rhyme is welcome. Punctuation is inventive, with use of the Emily Dickinson dash to create pauses and disconnects. The double-title respects both locality and spooky action at a distance. By treating language as both particle and wave it offers poets the aesthetic pleasures of both fixed and open form.