Last time we talked about different forms of Japanese poetry. Today I would like to introduce you to a couple more, hoping they will inspire you to give new forms to your own writing. We talked about Haiku (three line poem, 5-7-5 syllable count) and free verse haiku (short two or three line poems, usually about nature). We also talked about renku, which several poets write together in alternating stanzas. If you like these kinds of poems, a good website to visit is tinywords.com. I have them e-mail me a new poem every day.
Another Japanese form poem you might want to try is a tanka. Tanka is very similar to haiku and renku in that it has the syllable count 5-7-5 of a haiku followed by two lines of seven syllables each, just like the first stanza of a renku. In a tanka, however, the author is usually expressing a strong emotional reaction brought on by what he sees in nature.
On the white sand
Of the beach of a small isle
In the Eastern Sea
I, my face streaked with tears,
Am playing with a crab.
– Ishikawa Takuboku
Let’s also talk about a very easy and fun form poem to write, the cinquain. A cinquain is a five line poem that follows the following pattern:
Line 1 is one word (the title)
Line 2 is two words that describe the title.
Line 3 is three words that tell the action
Line 4 is four words that express the feeling
Line 5 is one word that recalls the title
The pitch hit
Yay! I did it!
These few are some of the easiest form poems to use to enrich your own writing. Although they are easy, trying to fit your poetic thoughts into a specific form will give your brain a challenge and that is always good for your writing.
-Teresa Sari FitzPatrick