(inter)national Poetry Month ~ April 2012 “E” etheree and more

(inter)national poetry month
April 2012

“E”   etheree and more

etheree,  senryū,   haiga,  tanka,  haibun,  gogyohka,  pantoum,  cinquain,  rondeau,  sestina,  triolet,  villanelle,  concrete,  free style,  shape poetry

these are all poetry forms which i  had never heard of  less than three years ago.  i have not mastered any of  them and  i  am positive that  i  know next to nothing about poetry forms, especially those with meter??? ….um,  feet???   i  have learned what i do know about poetry form from  One Stop Poetry  { unfortunately, no longer an active site but well worth your time to visit their archives.  click  HERE  to go to their series about poetry forms }  and  dVerse ~ Poets Pub  { click  HERE  for their  FormForAll archives. }  one woman has been behind these features at both sites  ~ Gay Reiser Cannon   { @beachanny }  ~   and i am deeply indebted to her.  i also have been introduced to many forms by two very generous poets,  Becca Givens,   at her blog  On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea  and Victoria Ceretto-Slotto,  at her blog  liv2write2day’s Blog.   imaginary garden with real toads  has a monthly poetry form feature ~  click  HERE  to see their format challenge archives.  POETIC BLOOMINGS  is the site where i first heard of  the  etheree  { also at dVerse ~ Poets Pub }  and  Walt Wojtanik has compiled a file with approximately 300 poetry forms that he is willing to share ~  click  HERE  to find out how to request a copy.

when researching a poetry form, i  usually consult  wikipedia  first because their articles include links to words and terms which one may not be familiar with  { ie:  metonymy }  and poets, such as  Rumi.   POETS.org  has a page listing poetry forms  { click  HERE }  with links to a broader explanation of  each one, as  does  The Teacher’s Guide  { click  HERE  }.

here are very brief  descriptions of  several types of  poetry forms ~  CLICK  on the form name to learn more:



probably the best known form of  poetry,  there are actually two types of  haikū ~ traditional and modern.

traditional haikū is a very short form of Japanese poetry  typically characterised by three qualities:

  • it consists of  three lines with a syllable count of  5/7/5
  • it always has a seasonal reference, either by name or association
  • the essence of haiku is “cutting”  which is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas with a cutting word between them

modern haikū is generally three lines, but the syllable count may vary from the 5/7/5  and it does not necessarily adhere to the traditional haikū requirements,  such as the seasonal reference.

by the way,  the plural of  haikū  is  haikū.



senryū is very similar to haikū,  with three lines of  5/7/5  syllables.  { syllable count may vary in modern senryū }  Senryū  tend to be about human foibles while haikū are about nature,  and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haikū are more serious.  unlike haikū,  senryū do not include a cutting word, and do not generally include a season word.



originally haiga were formed by writing haikū upon a painting.  today’s haiga are generally haikū or senryū written upon a photograph, with the writing most often created on a computer.



loosely stated,  a haibun is  prose { of  non-specific length }  ending with a haikū  which may have a direct or subtle relationship with the prose portion of  the haibun.  traditional  haibun have additional requirements;  modern haibun also allow senryū  instead of  haikū  to end the piece.



traditionally,  the purpose of tanka was to convey a message  to a lover;  today the standard form is a five-line verse with a syllable count of  5/7/5/7/7  { in modern tanka,  syllable count may vary }  without meter or rhyme.

a tanka is not one poem, but a combination of two poems.   the first three lines are the upper poem and the last two lines of 7-7 are the lower poem.  they are joined by that middle pivot line which is a bridge between the two main poems and should be part of the upper verse and the lower verse.   both poems should be able to stand on its own.



gogyohka is five lines of free verse on any subject matter with no set syllable pattern,  but the poem should be short and succinct.  the goal is to compellingly capture an idea,  observation,  feeling,  memory  or experience in just a few words.



cinquain is a five-line poem with many  variations,  the most common being the Crapsey cinquain  { created by Adelaide Crapsey }  with a syllable count of  2/4/6/8/2  and rhyme or meter are not required.  there are reverse cinquains,  mirror cinquains,  envelope cinquains…   the variations go on.



a shadorma is a 6-line poem (sestet) of Spanish descent with no set rhyme scheme and a syllabic poem with the following structure: 3/5/3/3/7/5  and it can have many stanzas so long as they follow the syllable count.



the etheree was created by a poet from Arkansas,  Etheree Taylor Armstrong.  the etheree is a ten-lined poem written with a specific syllable count of  1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10  totalling 55 syllables,  and is normally  unmetered and unrhymed.  the poem may be reversed  10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1  or  mirrored by writing an etheree and then a reverse-etheree.

Line 1 – 1 syllable
Line 2 – 2 syllables
Line 3 – 3 syllables
Line 4 – 4 syllables
Line 5 – 5 syllabels
Line 6 – 6 syllables
Line 7 – 7 syllables
Line 8 – 8 syllables
Line 9 – 9 syllables
Line 10 – 10 syllables


resources for learning about poetry form:




Filed under A to Z April Challenge 2012, featured poet, guest post, NaBloPoMo, National Poetry Month, poet, poetry, Post-A-Day2012, Post-A-Week2012

13 responses to “(inter)national Poetry Month ~ April 2012 “E” etheree and more

  1. This is fantastic! I have been wanting to learn more about form poetry and here I find you’ve gathered all of these resources in one beautiful blog! Thank you! I will now have to write an etheree.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  2. hedgewitch

    Nice look at some of the short forms–have to admit I have a soft spot for them myself, though I don’t write as many as I should. And thanks for the nods to dVerse and real toads. Not to mention the defunct but incomparable One Stop Poetry, where I learned so much and met so many wonderful poets.

  3. You have such a wealth of information here; and I thank you for this. Your research and knowledge is amazing, Dani.

    • thank you, Mary! ♥ my knowledge is extremely limited! i have a draft post full of poetry form information that i often refer to. {smile}

  4. Oh my I had no idea, so much to learn yikes

    • isn’t that the truth! i’m always amazed at the poets who do all of the more intricate forms which require iambic pentameter and specific rhyming schemes, etc. it’s beyond me! {smile}

  5. Thank you for sharing I will have to check out these links

  6. Pingback: march thirty one: national poetry month – 30 poems in 30 days, April 6 | march thirty one

  7. Pingback: Haibun ~ Leaf Writer and Alternate Poetic Grounds « A 19 Planets Art Blog 2010/2012

  8. Pingback: How to Write Ten-by-Ten Poems by Eighty Six the Poet « alchemyofscrawl

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