Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Poetry Form Of The Moment: Cinquain

As part of our on-going celebration of National
Poetry Month, say hello to the Cinquain:


A Cinquain is basically a five-line poem,
with the syllable count of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2.

A total of 22 syllables.
This makes it a little more generous than the
17 syllables of the Haiku, but lots of fun
still to be had here.

Here's an example:

These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow... the hour
Before the dawn... the mouth of one
Just dead.

The above Cinquain is "Triad" by the American Adelaide Crapsey, who innovated the modern form.

She was being influenced by Japanese poetry as she developed this approach, and the first examples were first published in 1915, after her death.

But to make it a little tougher, a formal modern cinquain can have the following additional constraints:

line 1 - one word (noun) a title or name of the subject
line 2 - two words (adjectives) describing the title
line 3 - three words (verbs) describing an action related to the title
line 4 - four words on a feeling about the title. A complete sentence.
line 5 - one word referring back to the title of the poem.

But this is OPTIONAL. Even Crapsey didn't always follow this formula. So, we see the Cinquain is not as hard as it seems, and can in fact be quite fun.

If you want to know more, here's the link to AMAZE, the Journal of the Cinquain form: http://www.amaze-cinquain.com

Just for the heck of it, here's mine as a very fast impromptu example:

Cycles, unseen
Circling, holding, keeps
A curious heart in place in space.

Now you give it a whirl! And have a great day! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just saw Torchwood, first episode: now available via download, too!

So, what do you think?

Biased, Jack,
Sidelined, leading apace
Queen's pawns and aliens from outer space.

Note: Let's hope the line doesn't wrap around when posted, since "Queen's pawns and aliens from outer space." is to be a single line. Hmm.