The BEAM is a short poem, 8-20 lines. It need not be necessarily impersonal or personal, but it must transcend mere subjectivity. "I" cannot be played straight. The BEAM has roots in Surrealist and Objectivist poetics. Things need not be what they are, but they must somehow be "seen" in a clear light. If you write, "she leapt burning through ashes," for instance, we know this is not literal but it can be seen nonetheless.

The BEAM should be page-centered. A BEAM must not be projective, its' predetermined form must act as a conduit to content rather than vice versa. Centering the poem gives it substantiality, while its' imagery lets it float into the stratosphere. It resembles a sonnet with more space, greater airiness.

BEAMs should generally be written in couplets or single lines. A BEAM couplet fulfills the role a beam does in architecture- it builds, structures, supports. Its' central position reinforces the impression of substantiality. Meanwhile, single lines interspersed function as "beams of light"; pure shots into poetic space, flashes of imagery, insight, gist-phrasing, etc. Light-beams illuminate built-beams, built-beams support and buttress light-beams. Together, they posit the BEAM as a kind of light-house or light-structure. A BEAM should blend concrete with ozone, specifics with abstractions, substantiality with ethereality. It is a form built to be seen.