I am studying a poem called Unbearable Weight of Staying by Warsan Shire. It includes regular type and then indented, italicised type e.g

I don't know when love became elusive.
My mother's laughter in a dark room

The remainder of the poem follows this form for another two stanzas, presenting two seemingly unrelated narratives and themes (of course can be able to argue this point and I intend to do so in my analysis, but I digress) so I read the regular type as if it were one poem and the italicised type as if another.

Is there a term for this, the reader/speaking of two quasi-simultaneous poetry?

  • Look to song duets and especially liturgy for words describing this 2-voice structure, not 'text formatting' and 'poetry'.
    – wetcircuit
    Aug 30, 2022 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


I think this would count as a duet, or possibly polyphony. What you describe isn't really understandable except as a musical/read out loud form of poetry. Though, a duet is typically used to describe when two voices sing or speak in harmony.

It could also simply be "Layering."

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