An acrostic is a poem or song or any piece of writing in which (usually) the first letter of each line (or sentence, or paragraph) spells out a word or a message. The device is very ancient, and is often used as a memory aid. When the last letter of a line spells out a message, the device is called a telestich, and the use of the middle letter of a line is called a mesostich. Because it is sometimes hard to detect, the acrostic can conceal a curse or secret message. Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allen Poe were both adept at acrostics, and Poe once concealed the letters of the name Frances Sargent Osgood in a poem so that the letters that spelled out her name were the first letter of the first line, the second letter of the second, the third letter of the third, and so on. When Australian poet Gwen Harwood wished to spite the editors of the Bulletin magazine, in 1961, she submitted two sonnet acrostics (under a pseudonym) which spelled out “So long, Bulletin” and “Fuck all editors.” Thousands of copies were distributed before the magazine was withdrawn from sale. On this site, John Tranter’s poem ‘Fin de Siècle’ is a simple acrostic, and his poem ‘Girl in Water’ (about the movie Vertigo, the actress Kim Novak and the philosopher Jacques Lacan) is a double acrostic (acrostic and telestich) in twelve four-line stanzas.