Antisymmetrical Palindromes in Traditional European and Contemporary Russian Poetry

Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya
Proceedings of Bridges 2013: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2013)
Pages 103–110 Regular Papers


Palindromes are usually understood as symmetrical texts read the same forward and backwards. I present here a special kind of palindromes that have opposite or different meaning when read in direct and opposite direction. These texts which I would call antisymmetrical palindromes have been known as a literary restriction since the Middle ages, whereas poets unfamiliar with this tradition have been rediscovering this constraint technique and naming it anew when writing texts on this restriction. Contemporary Russian poets using this technique create multi-line poems with distinguished poetical meanings and increase the expressiveness of the text by adding a visual component.