The zoetrope is an invented poetic form that originated in Singapore.
The zoetrope was created by Singapore poet Yeow Kai Chai for the commission for Fifty on 50, the Ethos anthology of poems written by 50 poets to commemorate the 50th year of Singapore’s independence in 2009.
The poem for the anthology was ‘From A to Z, A Zoetrope Spins in Commemoration of Your Independence’, and the idea was to create a whirlwind effect of change and movement, reflecting the dizzying pace of development in Singapore.
The form is an abecedarian format, a 26-line poem with each line comprising words containing a common letter. In other words, words in the first line contain “a”, words in the second line “b”, and so forth, till the 26th line which comprises words with “z” in them. The zoetrope, together with the twin cinema, is part of Yeow's cinematic obsession, a tribute to film which has influenced and inspired his writing in various ways.