An abecedarian poem—also known as an abecedarius, abecedary, or abecedarian—is a kind of [acrostic poem](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-write-an-acrostic-poem) in which the first letter of each line or verse begins with successive letters of the alphabet. Acrostic poems are a type of poem where the first letter of each line (or each paragraph) forms a hidden message or word. The abecedarian form goes in alphabetical order in English, meaning these poems will have 26 lines.\n\nAbecedarians represent an ancient poetic form, dating back to Biblical times. Several abecedarian poems in the Hebrew Bible function as acrostic poems of the Hebrew alphabet and celebrate beatific ancient figures.\nIn abecedarian poems, the first letters of each new line or verse go in alphabetical order from A to Z. In many ways, abecedarian poems mimic the structure of acrostic poems. Still, whereas the initial letters of each verse or line in an acrostic poem vertically spell out a word or phrase, the lines of an abecedarian poem spell out the alphabet of the language at hand. \nIn English, abecedarian poems typically have 26 lines total. Each line starts with a successive letter of the alphabet running from A to Z. These poems are relatively straightforward and make for excellent writing prompts. Abecedarians can be narrative or simply highlight the entire alphabet in a rhyming, sing-songy way.\nA narrative example of an abecedarian poem might go like this:\n\n*Alice wanted to go to the park*\n*But knew she had to study for* \n*Class. Still, her friend*\n*Diana asked her to go, and she was* \n*Eager to get some fresh air.*\n\nAnd so on. \nAbecedarian poems can demonstrate the alphabet directly, as seen in the below, which also employs an AABB rhyme scheme:\n\n*A is for apple, crisp and sweet*\n*B is for boys, young and upbeat*\n*C is for caroling out in the snow*\n*D is for the dirt in the ground below*\n\nAnd so on. \n\nBecause of their ease in demonstrating the alphabet, abecedarian poems are often for children; Dr. Seuss’s picture book *ABC* (1963) represents this form of poetry. Certain letters like X can be more difficult to factor into a poem, so authors will typically employ words like x-ray or xylophone for children. \n\nWhile abecedarian poems are often for children, they can also cover more mature themes; Jessica Greenbaum's “A Poem for S.” (2012) addresses themes such as love, forgiveness, and health. Other examples of abecedarians include Harryette Mullen's “Sleeping with the Dictionary” (2002) and Carolyn Forché's "On Earth" (2003).\nBecome a better writer with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com). Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by the world’s best, including Billy Collins, Neil Gaiman, Walter Mosley, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Dan Brown, and more.\nLearn about famous examples of abecedarian poetry and how to craft an abecedarian poem using the alphabet.