Word Ways


Jim Puder


As anyone who has ever sincerely tried, yet failed ignominiously, to read all the way through someone else's long list of sentence palindromes has reason to know, the real fun in palindromes lies mainly in their making, not in their reading. Two of the more structured ways of enjoying palindrome composition involve the application of a systematic subject constraint to this already much constrained form. In one, one selects some limited set of related words, such as the names of the U.S. States or presidents, and attempts to use as many as possible in short palindromic passages. In the other, one composes (hopefully amusing) variations of some familiar palindrome chestnut such as Able was I ere I saw Elba, e.g., Stressed was I ere I saw desserts, etc.