poetry forms ~ (inter)national poetry month April 2015 + #giveaway

(inter)national poetry month
April 2015

encore  presentation

poetry  forms

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 five 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. }  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 poetry form feature ~  click  HERE  to see their format challenge archives.

for National Poetry Month 2015,  Tricia Stohr-Hunt  at  The Miss Rumphius Effect  is focusing on poetry forms throughout the month including examples,  in far more detail than what i  provide below.

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.  you’ll find many modern tanka which ignore the use of  a pivot line,  simply adhering to five lines and the syllable count.



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 (or word) count of  1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10  totalling 55 syllables or words,  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:




 have you entered the


just click  HERE  to go to the giveaway post ~  you’ll get all of  the information about what books are being given away and how to enter.

thanks  for  joining  in!


*the giveaway closes at midnight  (12:00am)  Pacific Standard Time USA on the night of  April 30/May 1,  2015.


1 Comment

Filed under BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY, Creative Every Day, giveaway, NaBloPoMo, National Poetry Month, poetry, poetry form, Post-A-Day, redux

One response to “poetry forms ~ (inter)national poetry month April 2015 + #giveaway

  1. These are just gateway forms to haiku, which ruins lives!

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