An acrostic (from ancient Greek ἄκρος ákros , 'tip', and στίχος stíchos 'verse', 'line') is a poem (usually in verse form ) in which the beginnings of word or verse sequences (letters in word sequences or words in verse form , also initial syllables) when read one after the other produce a meaning of their own, for example a name or a sentence. The German name for this literary form is Leistenvers or Leistengedicht .
Acrostics are widespread in Jewish literature, starting with the Hebrew Bible . The Lamentations have up to Chapter 5 an acrostic construction. In some psalms , the first letters of 22 verses follow the sequence of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Psalms 9 and 10 , 25 , 34 , 37 , 111 , 112 , 119 and 145 ). The first four words of Psalm 96 , 11 ( Ps 96.11 EU ) contain an acrostic of the name of God, YHWH . In later rabbinical literature, the first letters of works or song stanzas indicate the author. This is the case, for example, with the Sabbath hymn Lecha Dodi , in which the first letters of the first eight stanzas result in the name Schlomo ha-Levi and refer to the author Schlomo Alkabez .
The acrostic poem was popular in ancient, medieval and baroque poetry, for example with Otfrid von Weißenburg (around 800–870) or Martin Opitz (1597–1639). Paul Gerhardt's song Command you your ways is an acrostic from Psalm 37: 5. In the work diu crône by Heinrich von dem Türlin , the name of the poet can be found as an acrostic. An example from modern times is “Lust = Living under Power” by Elfriede Hablé (* 1934). Joachim Ringelnatz (1883-1934) took part under the name Erwin Christian Stolze with an acrostic in the tender for an Olympic hymn. The first letters gave his full name.
A poem in which the final letters result in a word or a sentence is a telestichon ; if the middle letter applies, it is a mesostichon . An acroteleuton is a multiple acrostic or a combination of acrostic and telestich.
- Klaus Koenen: acrostic. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen, Stefan Alkier (Eds.): The Scientific Biblical Lexicon on the Internet (WiBiLex), Stuttgart 2006 ff.
- Ernst Graf: Akrostichis . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume I, 1, Stuttgart 1893, Col. 1200-1207.
- Ernst Vogt : The acrostic in Greek literature. In: Antiquity and the Occident. Volume 13. de Gruyter, Berlin 1967, , pp. 80-95.
- Acrostic sonnet by Robert Gernhardt from the period No. 41/2005
- Acrostic Poem about the acrostic poem by Martin Möllerkies (2012)
- Acrostic Poems for Children, Teachers, and other Poets (English)