Some poetic forms/terms and their definitions:
(please excuse the mess-I still need to edit this a bit)
A Retourne is a French poetry form wherein repetition is used, employed. It consist of four quatrains (four-line stanzas), with each line having eight syllables. The trick is though that the first stanza's second line must also be the second stanza's first line, the first stanza's third line is the third stanza's first, and the first stanza's fourth line is the fourth stanza's first.
A Kyrielle is a French form of rhyming poetry written in quatrains (a stanza consisting of 4 lines),
and each quatrain contains a repeating line or phrase as a refrain (usually appearing as the last
line of each stanza). Each line within the poem consists of only eight syllables. There is no limit
to the amount of stanzas a Kyrielle may have, but three is considered the accepted minimum.
Some popular rhyming schemes for a Kyrielle are: aabB, ccbB, ddbB, with B being the repeated
line, or abaB, cbcB, dbdB.
Mixing up the rhyme scheme is possible for an unusual pattern of: axaZ, bxbZ, cxcZ, dxdZ, etc.
with Z being the repeated line.
The rhyme pattern is completely up to the poet.
Kyrielle Sonnet is a 14 line poem, consisting of 3 rhyming quatrain stanza and a non-rhyming couplet. Each line within the Kyrielle Sonnet consists of only eight syllables. The Kyrielle Sonnet has a refrain normally, the last line of each stanza. Keeping with French tradition, linking the last line with the first line, the ending couplet is composed by putting the 1st line of the poem with the last line of the poem.
Rhyme scheme: AbaB cbcB dbdB AB
French origin, from the word 5. A five line stanza. First line is the title, second line describes the title, third line describes actions, fourth line describes feelings and the fifth line refers back to the title.
The are two options to writing it:-
Line 1 - 1 word (Title)
Line 2 - 2 word phrase
Line 3 - 3 word phrase
Line 4 - 4 word phrase
Line 5 - 1 word
Line 1 - 2 syllables (Title)
Line 2 - 4 syllables
Line 3 - 6 syllables
Line 4 - 8 syllables
Line 5 - 2 syllables
A nonet has nine lines. The first line has nine syllables, the second line eight syllables, the third line seven syllables, etc... until line nine that finishes with one syllable. It can be on any subject and rhyming is optional.
The Hay(na)ku Verse Form, a 21st century poetry form.
Invented by poet Eileen Tabios, who is also publisher, Meritage Press.
Officially inaugurated on the Web on June 12th, 2003 (Philippine Independence Day).
The form spread through the Web to poets all over the world.
Eileen Tabios initially called the form "the Pinoy Haiku".
Vince Gotera proposed the name "hay(na)ku", and this name has stuck. This corresponds to a Tagalog phrase that means roughly "Oh!" or (in Spanish) "Madre mÃƒ?Ã‚Âa".
The last syllable is pronounced "ko" so maybe the final name will be even more independent of "hayku": "hay(na)ko".
Some of my favorites in the anthology are Dan Waber's:
Love isn't math.
and Craig Freeman's
Quantities of hills.
In a traditional Hay(na)ku, there are:
A tercet: 3 lines.
A total of 6 words: 1 in the first line, 2 in the second line, and 3 in the third line.
There is no restriction on syllables or stressed or rhymes.
In the 'reverse' haynaku, the longest line is placed first and the shortest last. The total is still 6 words: 3 in the first line, 2 in the second line, and 1 in the third line.
Multiple hay(na)ku can be chained to form a longer poem.
There are other variations also.
The Concrete Poem Form
Introduced in the 1950's, the term "Concrete Poem" now often includes what was historically called the "Pattern Poem" or (in the terminology of Kenneth Koch) a "Shape Poem."
In a Pattern or Shape Poem, the shape of the poem on the page symbolizes the content of the poem.
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry
by Edward Hirsch,
reports that "pattern poems have been found in Greek, Latin ..., Hebrew, Chinese, Sanskrit, ancient Persian, and in most modern European languages." The Pattern Poem shows a visual relationship of the form and the meaning.
In the 1950's poets in Switzerland and Sweden and Brazil started, independently, to develop "Concrete Poetry" (partly as an adaptation of "concrete painting", a minor European school of the 1940's). In such poems, the arrangement of words and phrases on the page indicated the poem's meaning.
Poets who have made such mergers of appearance and content include George Herbert, Lewis Carrol (pen name of Charles L. Dodgson), Ezra Pound, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Stephane MallarmÃƒ?Ã‚Â©.
In a Concrete Poem, form follows function. The poem's visual form reveals its content and is integral to it. These are the features of such a poem:
If you remove the form of the poem, you weaken the poem.
In some (though not all) Concrete Poems, the form contains so much significant meaning of the poem that, if you remove the form of the poem, you destroy the poem.
The arrangement of letters and words creates an image that offers the meaning visually.
The white space of the page can be a significant part of the poem.
Such poems can include a combination of lexical and pictorial elements.
The physical arrangement in a Concrete Poem can provide a cohesion that the actual words lack. This allows a poem to ignore standard syntax, and logical sequencing.
While such poetry is predominantly experienced as visual poetry, some concrete poetry is sound poetry. In general, concrete poetry attempts to give its audience the more immediate experience of art that is achieved by viewers of art or hearers of music.
The attractiveness and robustness of the term "Concrete" means that modern poems that would previously have been called "Pattern Poems" are now called "Concrete Poems."
A rictameter is a nine line poetry form. The 1st and the last lines are the same and the syllable count is as follows: -
Line 1 - 2 syllables - same as line 9
Line 2 - 4 syllables
Line 3 - 6 syllables
Line 4 - 8 syllables
Line 5 - 10 syllables
Line 6 - 8 syllables
Line 7 - 6 syllables
Line 8 - 4 syllables
Line 9 - 2 syllables - same as line 1
The poetry form, Etheree, consists of 10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. Etheree can
also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Get creative and write an Etheree with
more than one verse, but follow suit with an inverted syllable count.
Reversed Etheree: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Double Etheree: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
...Triple Etheree, Quadruple Etheree, and so on!
French origin, a poem or stanza of eight lines in which the first line is repeated also in the fourth and seventh lines, as is the second repeated with the eighth line.
Rhyme scheme: ABaAabAB, Capital letters representing the repeated lines.
Each line consists of 8 syllables.
A Ghazal is a poem that is made up like an odd numbered chain of couplets, where each couplet is
an independent poem. It should be natural to put a comma at the end of the first line. The Ghazal
has a refrain of one to three words that repeat, and an inline rhyme that preceedes the refrain.
Lines 1 and 2, then every second line, has this refrain and inline rhyme The rhyming scheme is AA bA cA dA eA etc.
Of Persian origin, poem comprising of couplets with a rhyme and a refrain: -
_____________________rhyme A + refrain
_____________________rhyme A + refrain
2nd and successive couplets:
_____________________rhyme A + refrain
Terza rima is a fairly simple verse form developed in Italy. It contains an unlimited number of three-line stanzas (called "tercets") with the rhyming pattern aba bcb cdc ded efe... Each tercet's middle line gives the rhyme for the first and last lines of the next tercet. The last tercet's middle line provides the rhyme for a final stanza containing either a single line or a couplet.
Although no specific line length is required, most terza rima poems in English are written in iambic pentameter.
The Pathya Vat is a Cambodian verse form, consisting of four lines, where lines two and three rhyme. When a poem consists of more than one stanza, the last line of the previous stanza rhymes with the second and third lines of the following one.
(Type: strucyure, metrical requirement, rhyme scheme requirement, stanzaic
Description: Tetra syllabic-lined quatrains where the second and third lines rhyme. If there is more than one quatrain, the rhyme is picked up from the fourth line on the previous stanza).
Origin is from Magyar attributed to Hungarian poet Balint Balassi (1554 - 1594), he was regarded as the first great lyricist of the Hungarian language. He wrote poems about religion, war and love.
Each individual Balassi stanza is 9 lines in length and has a syllable count of 6-6-7-6-6-7-6-6-7, the rhyme for each stanza is bbaccadda.
French poetry form. There are a total of 6 stanzas. The first 5 stanza comprise of 3 lines each. The last stanza comprises 4 lines.
The 1st and 3rd line of the first stanza takes turns repeating as the final line in the following stanzas, and are then rejoined as the last 2 lines in the final stanza.
The rhyme scheme is ABA throughout, except in the final stanza.
A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem set up in a diamond shape. The first line begins with a
noun/subject, and second line contains two adjectives that describe the beginning noun. The third line
contains three words ending in -ing relating to the noun/subject. The forth line contains two words that
describe the noun/subject and two that describe the closing synonym/antonym. If using an antonym for
the ending, this is where the shift should occur. In the fifth line are three more -ing words describing
the ending antonym/synonym, and the sixth are two more adjectives describing the ending
antonym/synonym. The last line ends with the first noun's antonym or synonym.
A Spanish poetry form, it revolves around the number 8 - there are 8 lines to the poem, with 8 syllables per line. The rhyming scheme is ABABBCBC.
Free Verse is an irregular form of poetry in which the content free of traditional rules of versification,
(freedom from fixed meter or rhyme).
In moving from line to line, the poet's main consideration is where to insert line breaks. Some ways
of doing this include breaking the line where there is a natural pause or at a point of suspense for the
4 stanzas of 4 lines per stanza.
The first line on the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the last stanza.
The 2nd line of the 1st stanza repeated as the 1st line of the 2nd stanza. 3rd line of 1st stanza repeated as 1st line of 3rd stanza. 4th line of 1st stanza repeated as 1st line of 4th stanza.
The Ruba'yait Verse Form
The Ruba'yait is a Persian form of several quatrains. Its name derives from the Arabic plural of the word for "quatrain," RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡'Ãƒ?Ã‚Âyah. This, in turn, comes from the Arabic RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡, meaning "four."
These are the attributes of the Ruba'yaÂ¡t:
This Persian form of poetry is a series of rhymed quatrains. In each quatrain, all lines rhyme except the third, leading to this pattern:
a - 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a - 4th line rhymes with the first and second.
An "Interlocking RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡iyÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡t" is a Ruba'yaÂ¡t where the subsequent stanza rhymes its 1st, 2nd, and 4th lines with the sound at the end of the 3rd line in the stanza (RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡'Ãƒ?Ã‚Âyah) before it. In this form, the 3rd line of the final stanza is also rhymed with the 3 rhymed lines in the first stanza.
This leads to a form like this example with three stanzas; note that the Ruba'yaÂ¡t" is allowed an unlimited number of stanzas, so extend the pattern as needed:
a - 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a - 4th line rhymes with the first and second.
b - 1st line rhymes with the third in the previous stanza.
b - 2nd line rhymes with the first.
b - 4th line rhymes with the first and second.
c - 1st line rhymes with the third in the previous stanza.
c - 2nd line rhymes with the first.
a - 3rd line rhymes with the first in the opening stanza.
c - 4th line rhymes with the first and second.
The lines are accentual-syllabic, usually tetrameters or pentameters.
Examples of Ruba'yaÂ¡t.
These are some of the favorite quatrains from the Ruba'yaÂ¡t of Omar Khayyam translated by Edward Fitzgerald:
Wake! For the Sun who scattered into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heaven and Strikes
The Sultan's Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
The Winter garment of Repentance fling;
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly - and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.
[Stanza 7, 1st edition]
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
Some poems that have been written in English have the form of the Ruba'yaÂ¡t, or a close approximation. An example is Robert's Frost Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, which begins:
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
Ezra Pound composed a RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡iyÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡t that he included on the last page of his Canto LXXX (p. 516 in the New Directions edition of The Cantos); it begins:
Tudor indeed is gone and every rose,
Blood-red, blanch-white that in the sunset glows
Cries: "Blood, Blood, Blood!" against the gothic stone
Of England, as the Howard or Boleyn knows.
Here are some steps to take in creating a RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡iyÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡t:
Read Fitzgerald's Fitzgerald's RubÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡iyÃƒ?Ã‚Â¡t a dozen times.
For your first Ruba'yaÂ¡t, begin with a short story that you know, perhaps a traditional tale from your family or your culture.
List at least a dozen words that are key to the story.
For each of these words, list half a dozen or more words that rhyme.
Now construct one stanza using a set of these rhymed words. The pattern possibilities of the rhyming will give you ideas for lines that you would never have thought of otherwise. Continue till done. Be patient. You are weaving an interesting tapestry.
A word, phrase, verse, sentence or poem that reads the same forwards and backwards.
Cazone- composed of 5 stanzas and a coda. Each stanza having 12 lines which use the same repeated end words in the following sequence: A). 1-2-1-1-3-1-1-4-4-1-5-5- B). 5-1-5-5-2-5-5-3-3-5-4-4 C). 4-5-4-4-1-4-4-2-2-4-3-3 D). 3-4-3-3-5-3-3-5-3-3-1-1-3-2-2 E). 2-3-2-2-4-2--2-5--5-2-1-1. The coda must use a 1-5-4-3-2 sequence.
An Irish poetic form, is a quatrain stanza of uneven lines. The 1st line has 3 syllables and the other 3 have 7 syllables. Each stanza has a rhyme scheme of aaba, with a cross rhyme between the 3rd and 4th line of each stanza -
A poem written in quatrains, with each stanza mono-rhymed. The fourth line of each stanza must be repeated (dimeter phrase) The poem thus has a song like quality.
The Doditsu is a fixed folk song form of Japanese origin and often portrays love or humor as subject matter.
It comprises 26 syllables made up of four lines of 7-7-7-5 syllables respectively. It usually does not rhyme.
African American style poetry.
Line 1 - 2 syllables
Line 2 - 4 syllables
Line 3 - 6 syllables
Line 4 - 8 syllables
Line 5 - 6 syllables
Line 6 - 4 syllables
Line 7 - 2 syllables
Japanese style poem of 3 lines with a syllable count of 5-7-7.
Of Japanese origin, unrhymed poem made up of two three lined katauta with a syllable count of 5-7-7, 5-7-7.
Poem consisting of 7 lines with 10 syllables per line. The rhyme scheme is ababbcc.
The sestina is a strict ordered form of poetry, dating back to twelfth century French troubadours. It
consists of six six-line (sestets) stanzas followed by a three-line envoy. Rather than use a rhyme
scheme, the six ending words of the first stanza are repeated as the ending words of the other five
stanzas in a set pattern. The envoy uses two of the ending words per line, again in a set pattern.
First stanza, ..1 ..2 ..3 ..4 ..5 ..6
Second stanza, ..6 ..1 ..5 .. 2 ..4 ..3
Third stanza, ..3 ..6 ..4 ..1 ..2 ..5
Fourth stanza, ..5 ..3 ..2 ..6 ..1 ..4
Fifth stanza, ..4 ..5 ..1 ..3 ..6 ..2
Sixth stanza, ..2 ..4 ..6 ..5 ..3 ..1
middle of first line ..2, end of first line ..5
middle of second line ..4, end of second line..3
middle if third line ..6, end of third line ..1
Is a Japanese poetry form, a long poem. The Choka deals with humanistic topics involving relationships. Each stanza is 3 lines in length and there is a syllable requirement.
The choices for the structure are: -
First stanzas comprising 5-7-7, 5-7-7 syllables etc., second 5-7-5, 5-7-5 syllables etc.
As a third choice, the pattern may alternate throughout the poem's length. For example 5-7-5, 5-7-7, 5-7-5 etc. or 5-7-7, 5-7-5, 5-7-7 and so on.
5 line Spanish poetry form with syllable counts of 7-11-7-7-11 and a rhyme scheme of ababb.
A cameo is purely a syllabic poetry form, 6 lines and the syllable count is 2-5-8-3-8-7-2.
A Spanish poetry form of 6 unrhymed lines. It is a syllabic poem. You may have as many stanzas as you like. The syllable count is as follows: -
Syllables for each Stanza -
Line 1: 3 syllables
Line 2 : 5 Syllables
Line 3 : 3 Syllables
Line 4 : 3 Syllables
Line 5 : 7 Syllables
Line 6 : 5 syllables
Tetractys, consists of at least 5 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10
syllables (total of 20). Tetractys can be written with more than one verse, but must follow suit
with an inverted syllable count. Tetractys can also be reversed and written 10, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Double Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1
Triple Tetractys: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10
5 lines, syllable count: -
line 1 - 1 syllable
line 2 - 2 syllables
line 3 - 3 syllables
line 4 - 4 syllables
line 5 - 10 syllables
A short poem of Burmese Origin. It consists of 3 lines with 4 syllables per line. The rhyme is the 4th syllable of the first line, the 3rd syllable of the 2nd line and the 2nd syllable of the 3rd line.
Only one word allowed for the title, followed by a 7 line stanza. The first word in each line begins with the same letter as the title.
South American verse form with syllable counts of 5-7-7-6-8.
Poetic Form: Found Poem
Found poems take existing texts and refashion them, reorder them, and present them as poems. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.
A pure found poem consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet.
Many poets have also chosen to incorporate snippets of found texts into larger poems, most significantly Ezra Pound. His Cantos includes letters written by presidents and popes, as well as an array of official documents from governments and banks. The Waste Land, by T. S. Eliot, uses many different texts, including Wagnerian opera, Shakespearian theater, and Greek mythology. Other poets who combined found elements with their poetry are William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, and Louis Zukofsky.
The found poem achieved prominence in the twentieth-century, sharing many traits with Pop Art, such as Andy Warhol's soup cans or Marcel Duchamp's bicycle wheels and urinals. The writer Annie Dillard has said that turning a text into a poem doubles that poem's context. "The original meaning remains intact," she writes, "but now it swings between two poles."
A poem created from prose found in a non-poetic context, such as advertising copy, brochures, newspapers, product labels, etc. The lines are arbitrarily rearranged into a form patterned on the rhythm and appearance of poetry.
Found poetry is the rearrangement of words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages that are taken from other sources and reframed as poetry by changes in spacing and/or lines (and consequently meaning), or by altering the text by additions and/or deletions. The resulting poem can be defined as "treated" (changed in a profound and systematic manner) or "untreated" (conserving virtually the same order, syntax and meaning as in the original).
The creation of found poetry requires the poet to draw upon not only mental creativity but his or her own unconscious attitude regarding the nature of language. Structurally, it can sometimes be similar to the process of composing a visual collage. Stylistically, it is similar to the visual art of "appropriation" in which two- and three-dimensional art is created from recycled items, giving ordinary/commercial things new meaning when put within a new context in unexpected combinations or juxtapositions. Appropriation art often plays upon a double-edged meaning, wherein the object's new artistic meaning makes a political or philosophical comment on its original purpose, and the same can be said for the way 'found poetry' can contain clever wordplay or evoke ironic contradictions in the way we use language.
Much older then Haiku and Tanka forms, it is of Korean origin evolving from even earlier Chinese patterns.
3 lines comprising 14-16 syllables each, totaling between 44-46 syllables. A pause breaks each line approximately in the middle.
In Latin = Septem. German origin, meaning 7 hence only 7 lines in length. A verse form that has a syllable count of:-
line 1 - 3 syllables
line 2 - 5 syllables
line 3 - 7 syllables
line 4 - 9 syllables
line 5 - 7 syllables
line 6 - 5 syllables
line 7 - 3 syllables
LUNE-a 3 line poem using a word count and not syllables(as opposed to the oriental forms). The word count is 3, 5, 3 (which makes the poem physically resemble it's name-the French word for moon).
LANTERN (or Lanturne)
The Lanturne is a five-line verse shaped like a Japanese lantern with a syllabic pattern of one,
two, three, four, one.
- a 5 line poem using a word count (again-not syllable count) of 1, 3, 5, 3, 1. Like the Lune, the form it takes on the page resembles the object it is named for.
A Ottava Rima is a poem written in 8-line octives. Each line is of a 10 or 11 syllable count in
the following rhyme:
one octive poem. abababcc
two octive poem. abababcc, dededeff
three octive poem. abababcc, dededeff, ghghghii
...so on and so on
A Rispetto, an Italian form of poetry, is a complete poem of two rhyme quatrains with strict meter.
The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of abab ccdd. A Heroic Rispetto is
written in Iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme.
A poetic form created by Lencio Dominic Rodrigues, the Lento is named after it's creator,
taken from his first name Lencio and rhymed to Cento, an existing form of poetry.
A Lento consists of two quatrains with a fixed rhyme scheme of abcb, defe as the second
and forth lines of each stanza must rhyme. To take it a step further, but not required, try
rhyming the first and third lines as well as the second and forth lines of each stanza in this
rhyming pattern: abab, cdcd. The fun part of this poem is thrown in here as all the FIRST
words of each verse should rhyme. There is no fixed syllable structure to the Lento, but
keeping a good, flowing rhythm is recommended.
For an added challenge, one may write a four-verse Lento and call it a Double Lento, or a
six-versed Lento to become a Triple Lento.
1) An unrhymed Japanese poem recording the essence of a moment. Nature is combined with human nature. It usually consists of three lines of 5/7/5 (5 kana in the first line, 7 kana in the second line, and 5 kana in the third line) totaling seventeen kana.
2) A foreign adaptation of 1, usually written in three lines totaling 17 syllables or LESS.
As you will notice, there are two definitions. Definition #1 is where many get confused. People tend to confuse kana or a single unit in the Japanese language with the English syllable.
This is like comparing apples to oranges. Kana cannot be compared to syllables.
Unless you are Japanese, have been writing Japanese, or speak fluent Japanese, you will be writing definition #2.
The difference between the two is that in definition #2, you will be writing three lines of poetry, 17 syllables or LESS.
This means you do not have to write three lines of 5/7/5 (5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line). You may do so, if you can do it well without fluff words (many can't). If you write 5/7/5, that does not make your poem more of a haiku than someone who does not write 5/7/5.
An ideal haiku should be short/long/short - but that depends on the haiku itself. There is nothing wrong with 5/7/5, if that is what you want to write. However, the majority of modern haiku in most of the journals are not 5/7/5. That doesn't mean that it doesn't have its place.
However, it is all "haiku," not "haiku" and "other." It's just haiku. If you like, you can refer to 5/7/5 as "traditional" -- but even that is not entirely accurate, as it is quickly becoming more traditional to veer away from 5/7/5. The plural of haiku is also haiku, NOT haikus.
After you have been writing and studying haiku for a while, you may be ready to break a rule. This is fine, if it is needed to improve the quality of an individual haiku.
However, before breaking any haiku rule, you must learn and practice the rules.
Then after you are more experienced, you can determine which rule, if any, you want to break on occasion.
Break rules out of experience, not inexperience.
A Monorhyme is a poem in which all the lines have the same end rhyme.
An unrhymed Japanese poem consisting of five lines of 5/7/5/7/7 (5 kana in the first line, 7 kana in the second line, 5 kana in the third line, 7 kana in the fourth line, and 7 kana in the fifth line) totaling 31 kana.
General thoughts on Tanka
Tanka is generally written in two parts. The first three lines is one part, and the last two lines is the second part.
Tanka in English is relatively new, so there are not as many guidelines as with haiku and senryu. You may include kigo (season words), but it is not necessary.
One exercise for beginners is to write a haiku and add two more lines.
However, tanka is not really a longer haiku, and should not be thought of as such. While tanka does use many of the same elements such as juxtaposition, concrete imagery, and is usually centered around nature, tanka is less constrictive.
You may use metaphor, simile, and many of the other devices generally not used in haiku or senryu. You may show a more personal and emotional viewpoint.
If tanka were seen in a book that contains only Japanese poetic forms, they would be easily recognizable. However, if the same poems were seen in a freestyle poetry book, they may be confused with any other five line poem.
English tanka has not totally found its voice.
Three ways to write tanka
There are three basic ways to write tanka.
1) Write 5 lines of 5/7/5/7/7. Just replace one syllable for one kana. Most English speaking writers do not do this, as there are too many vast differences between the Japanese and English language.
You are certainly free to do this, however, your tanka will be about one-third longer than the Japanese tanka. There are some Japanese who think this is the only real way to write tanka, but there are others who feel that making English writers adhere to the form serves no purpose.
2) Write 5 lines of 31 syllables or LESS, following the short/long/short/long/long form. This way, your tanka will achieve the same basic effect as the Japanese tanka.
3) Write 5 lines of 31 syllables or LESS, letting the poem dictate the line length. You are free to experiment more with this last option.
Everyone who writes tanka must make their own personal decision on which form they want to use. Some experiment with all three forms and find their own paths.
Naani is one of Indian's most popular Telugu poems. Naani means an expression of one and all.
It consists of 4 lines, the total lines consists of 20 to 25 syllables. The poem is not bounded to
a particular subject. Generally it depends upon human relations and current statements.
Acrostic Poetry is where the first letter of each line spells a word, usually (but not always) using the same
words as in the title.
alliteration: the repetition at close intervals of the initial consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words (for example, map-moon, kill-code, preach- approve). Important words and accented syllables beginning with vowels may also be said to alliterate with each other inasmuch as they all have the same lack of an initial consonant sound (for example, "Inebriate of air am I")
apostrophe: A figure of speech in which someone absent or dead or something nonhuman is addressed as if it were alive and present and could reply.example: "To an Athlete Dying Young" by A.E. Housman "The time you won your town the race,We chaired you through the market-place..."
consonance: The repetition at close intervals of the final consonant sounds of accented syllables or important words (for example, "book-plaque-thicker")
connotation: What a word suggests beyond its basic definition; a word's overtones of meaning. example: "The words childlike and childish both mean 'characteristic of a child,' but childlike suggests meekness, innocence, and wide-eyed wonder,..."
denotation: The basic definition or dictionary meaning of a word.
paradox: A statement or situation containing apparently contradictory or incompatible elements. example: "When Alexander Pope wrote that a literary critic of his time would 'damn with faint praise,' he was using a verbal paradox, for how can a man damn by praising?"
irony: A situation, or a use of language, involving some kind of incongruity or discrepancy. Three kinds of irony are distinnguished in this book: verbal, dramatic, and irony of situation. example: "When Coleridge's Ancient Mariner finds himself in the middle of the ocean with 'Water, water, everywhere,' but not a 'drop to drink,' we call the situation ironic."
synecdoche: A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole. In the book it is subsumed under the term Metonymy. example: "redhead for a red-haired person, hands for manual workers, highbrow for the sophisticate, tongues for languages, ..."
hyperbole (overstatement): A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used in the service of truth. example: "I'm starved!"
meiosis (understatement): A figure of speech that consists of saying less than one means, or of saying what one means with less force than the occasion warrants. example: "If, for instance, upon sitting down to a loaded dinner plate, you say, 'This looks like a nice snack,' you are actually stating less than the truth..."
litote: A figure of speech in which affirmative is expressed by the negation of the opposite. "This is no small problem" "I don't dislike you" "he's no dummy"
pathetic fallacy: The attributing of human emotions and characteristics to nature: "The leonine old illustrator never let his
pupils fall for the pathetic fallacy, that empty barrels are lonely."
pastoral: adj. of shepherds or country life:a play, poem, or novel dealing with shepherds or country life. Such works as type or class: there are some things of an established nature in pastoral, which are essential to it, such as a country scene, innocence, simplicity...
iambic pentameter: A basic measure of English poetry, five iambic feet in each line. Blank verse is in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Heroic verse is in rhymed orunrhymed iambic pentameter.
meter (and variants): Regularized rhythm; an arrangement of language in which the accents occur at apparently equal intervals in time.
rime (and variants): The repetition of the accented vowel sound and all succeeding sounds in important or importantly positioned words (for example, "old-cold,vane-reign, court-report, order-recorder"). The above definition applies to perfect rime and assumes that the accented vowel sounds involved are preceded by differing consonant sounds. If the preceding consonant sound is the same (for example, "manse-romance, style- stile"), or if there is no preceding consonant sound in either
word (for example, "aisle-isle, alter-altar"), or if the same word is repeated in the riming position (for example, "hill-hill"), the words are called identical rimes. Both perfect rimes and identical rimes are to be distinguished from approximate rimes.
sonnets (Shakespearean vs Italian): Shakespearean sonnet-A sonnet riming ababcdcdefefgg. Its content or structure ideally parallels the rime scheme, falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet; but it is often structured, like the Italian sonnet, into octave and sestet, the principal break in thought coming at the end of the eighth line.
Italian sonnet: A sonnet consisting of an octave riming abbaabba and of a sestet using any arrangement of two or three additional rimes, such as cdcdcd or cdede.
enjambment: n. Prosody. the continuation of a sentence form one line or couplet into the next.
caesura: Grammatical pause- A pause introduced into the reading of a line by a mark of punctuation. Grammatical pauses do not affect scansion.
Rhetorical pause: A natural pause, unmarked by punctuation, introduced into the reading of a line by its phrasing or syntax. Rhetorical pauses do not affect scansion.
scansion: n. the marking off of lines of poetry into feet; scanning. The marks for scasion are -or' for a long....etc.
lyric poetry: poetry with a lyrical or song-like quality.
epic poetry: a long poem that tells of the adventures of one or more great heroes; epopee. An epic is written in a dignified, majestic style, and often gives expression to the characters and ideals of a nation or race.
metonymy: A figure of speech in which some significant aspect or detail of an experience is used to represent the whole experience. In this book the single term METONYMY is used for what are sometimes distinguished as two separate figures: SYNEDCOCHE (the use of the part for the whole) and METONYMY (the use of something closely related for the thing actually meant). 65-66
epithet: n. a descriptive expression; a word or phrase expressing some quality or attribute. In "crafty Ulysses," "Richard the
Lion-Hearted," and "Honest Abe,"the epithets are "crafty,"...
archetype: n. the original model or pattern from which copies are made, or out of which later forms develop; prototype: That little engine is the archetype of huge modern locomotives.
euphemism: n. the use of a mild or indirect expression instead of one that is harsh or unpleasantly direct. a word or expression used in this way. "pass away" is a common euphemism for "die."
allegory: A narrative or description having a second meaning beneath the surface one. 88-89
blank verse: Unrhymed iambic pentameter. 187
free verse: Nonmetrical verse. Poetry written in free verse is arranged in lines, may be more or less rhythmical, but has no fixed metrical pattern or expectation. 186-87.
analogy: n. a likeness in some ways between things that are otherwise unlike; similarity: There is an analogy between the human heart and a pump. SYN: resemblance, correspondence, equivalence....
bucolic: Pastoral form of the middle ages.
doggerel: Light verse; humorous, comic and scatological by nature, base, vulgar, crude (dirty)
burlesque: n. a story, play, or essay, that treats a serious subject ridiculously, or a trivial story...
villanelle: see p. 221 exercise 2 French fixed form.
sonnet: Shakespearean-A sonnet riming ababcdcdefefgg. Its content or structure idally parallels the rime scheme, falling into three coordinate quatrains and a concluding couplet; but it is often structured, like the Italian sonnet, into octave and sestet, the
principal break in thought coming at the end of the eighth line. 219-220(exercise 1)
Petrarchan: A sonnet consisting of an octave riming abbaabba and of a sestet using any arrangement of two or three additional rimes, such as cdcdcd or cdecde. 218-19, 220 (exercise 1)
aubade: A poem about dawn; a morning love song; or a poem about the parting of lovers at dawn. 52-301. Poem about love. "dawn song"-awakening-early European form (12 century)
elegy: n. a mournful or melancholy poem, usually a lament for the dead. Milton's Lycidas and Shelly's Adonias are elegies. a poem written in elegiac verses
ballad: A fairly short narrative poem written in a song like stanza form.
Folk ballad-A narrative poem designed to be sung, composed by an anonymous author, and transmitted orally for years or generations before being written down. It has usually undergone modification through the process of oral transmission. 13-14
haiku: A three-line poem, Japanese in origin, narrowly conceived of as a fixed form in which the lines contain respectively five, seven, and five syllables (in American practice this requirement is frequently dispensed with). Haiku are generally concerned with some aspect of nature and present a single image or two juxtaposed images without comment, relying on suggestion rather than on explicit statement to communicate their meaning. 223
onomatopoeia: The use of words that supposedly mimic their meaning in their sound (for example, "boom, click, plop"). 198
trope: n. the use of a word or phrase in a sense different from its ordinary meaning; use of a figure of speech. SYN: metonymy. a word or phrase so used; figure of speech; figurative language.
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ
ABECEDARIAN POEM (ay-bee-see-DARE-ee-un)
An alphabetic acrostic poem; a poem having verses beginning with the successive letters of the alphabet.
Sidelight: Although now often considered a learning exercise for children, abecedarii were associated with divinity in ancient cultures.
(Compare Serpentine Verses)
AB OVO (ab OH-voh)
See under In Medias Res
ACADÃƒ?MIE FRANÃƒ?AISE (a-ka-day-MEE frwah-SEHZ)
See under Poet Laureate
A term describing a line of verse which is metrically complete, i.e., not shortened by the omission of the ending syllable of the final foot. Acatalexis is the opposite of catalexis.
The rhythmically significant stress in the articulation of words, giving some syllables more relative prominence than others. In words of two or more syllables, one syllable is almost invariably stressed more strongly than the other syllables. In words of one syllable, the degree of stress normally depends on their grammatical function; nouns, verbs, and adjectives are usually given more stress than articles or prepositions. The words in a line of poetry are usually arranged so the accents occur at regular intervals, with the meter defined by the placement of the accents within the foot. Accent should not be construed as emphasis.
Sidelight: Two degrees of accent are natural to many multi-syllabic English words, designated as primary and secondary.
Sidelight: When a syllable is accented, it tends to be raised in pitch and lengthened. Any or a combination of stress/pitch/length can be a metrical accent.
Sidelight: A semantic shift in accent can alter meaning. In the statement, "give me the book," for example, the meaning can be altered depending on whether the word "me" or the word "book," receives the more prominent stress. In metrical verse, the meter might help determine the poet's intent, but not always.
Sidelight: In English, when the full accent falls on a vowel, as in PO-tion, that vowel is called a long vowel; when it falls on an articulation or consonant, as in POR-tion, the preceding vowel is a short vowel. In the classical Greek and Latin quantitive verse, however, long and short vowels referred to duration, i.e., how long they were held in utterance.
(See also Cadence, Ictus, Modulation, Rhythm, Sprung Rhythm, Wrenched Accent)
(Compare Caesura, Slack)
Verse in which the metrical system is based on the count or pattern of accented syllables, which establish the rhythm. The accents must be normal speech stresses rather than those suggested by the metrical pattern. The total number of syllables may vary.
Sidelight: Most modern English poetry is a combination of accentual and syllabic verse.
(Contrast Quantitive Verse)
The omission of a syllable at the beginning of a line of verse. Such a line is described as acephalous.
Sidelight: An acephalous line might be an intentional variance by the poet or a matter of the scanning interpretation.
A poem in which certain letters of the lines, usually the first letters, form a word or message relating to the subject. Of ancient origin, examples of acrostic poems date back as far as the 4th century.
Sidelight: Strictly speaking, an acrostic uses the initial letters of the lines to form the word or message, as in the argument to Jonson's Volpone. If the medial letters are used, it is a mesostich; if the final letters, a telestich. The term acrostic, however, is commonly used for all three. When both the initial and final letters are used, it is called a double acrostic.
(Compare Abecedarian Poem, Serpentine Verses)
A verse consisting of a dactyl followed by a spondee or trochee. It is believed to be so named because of its use in songs during the Adonia, an ancient festival in honor of Adonis.
Sidelight: The festival of Adonia was celebrated by women, who spent two days alternating between lamentations and feasting.
(See also Sapphic Verse)
A type of hyperbole in which the exaggeration is magnified so greatly that it refers to an impossibility, e.g., "I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles."
Sidelight: An adynaton can also be expressed negatively: "Not all the water in Lake Superior could satisfy his thirst."
See Horatian Ode
A creative inspiration, as that of a poet; a divine imparting of knowledge, thus it is often called divine afflatus.
(See also Helicon, Muse, Numen)
A Greek lyrical meter, said to be invented by Alcaeus, a lyric poet from about 600 BC. Written in tetrameter, the greater Alcaic consists of a spondee or iamb followed by an iamb plus a long syllable and two dactyls. The lesser Alcaic, also in tetrameter, consists of two dactylic feet followed by two iambic feet.
Sidelight: Though seldom appearing in English poetry, Alcaic verse was used by Tennyson in his ode, Milton.
The standard line in French poetry, consisting of twelve syllables with a caesura after the sixth syllable. There are accents on the sixth and last syllables of the line, and usually a secondary stress within each half-line (hemistich). The English Alexandrine is written in iambic hexameter, thus containing twelve syllables in six metrical feet.
Sidelight: The Alexandrine probably received its name from an old French romance, Alexandre le Grand, written about 1180, in which the measure was first used.
Sidelight: The last line of the Spenserian stanza is an Alexandrine.
(See Poulter's Measure)
A figurative illustration of truths or generalizations about human conduct or experience in a narrative or description by the use of symbolic fictional figures and actions which the reader can interpret as a resemblance to the subject's properties and circumstances.
Sidelight: Though similar to both a series of symbols and an extended metaphor, the meaning of an allegory is more direct and less subject to ambiguity than a symbol; it is distinguishable from an extended metaphor in that the literal equivalent of an allegory's figurative comparison is not usually expressed.
Sidelight: The term, allegoresis, means the interpretation of a work on the part of a reader; since, by definition, the interpretation of an allegory is an essential factor, the two terms function together in a complementary fashion.
Sidelight: Probably the best-known allegory in English literature is Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.
(Compare Aphorism, Apologue, Didactic Poetry, Epigram, Fable, Gnome, Proverb)
(See also Allusion, Metaphor, Personification)
Also called head rhyme or initial rhyme, the repetition of the initial sounds (usually consonants) of stressed syllables in neighboring words or at short intervals within a line or passage, usually at word beginnings, as in "wild and woolly," or the line from Shelley's "The Cloud":
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
Sidelight: Alliteration has a gratifying effect on the sound, gives a reinforcement to stresses, and can also serve as a subtle connection or emphasis of key words in the line, but alliterated words should not "call attention" to themselves by strained usage.
(See also Euphony, Modulation, Resonance)
(Compare Assonance, Consonance, Rhyme, Sigmatism)
Poetry in which alliteration is a formal structural element in place of rhyme; it was prevalent in a number of old literatures prior to the 14th century, including Anglo-Saxon. In alliterative verse, the first half-line (hemistich) is united with the second half by alliterating stressed syllables; in the first half-line generally two (but sometimes three) syllables alliterate, while in the second half usually only one. Sometimes one alliterating sound is carried through successive lines:
In a somer seson, whan softe was the sonne,
I shoop me into shroudes as I a sheep were,
In habite as an heremite unholy of werkes,
Wente wide in this world wondres to here.
--The Vision of Piers Plowman, by William Langland, 1330?-1400?
Sidelight: To facilitate maintaining the alliterative pattern, poets made frequent use of a specialized vocabulary, consisting of many synonymous words seldom encountered outside of alliterative verse.
Sidelight: By the 14th century, rhyme and meter displaced alliteration as a formal element, although alliterative verse continued to be written into the 16th century and alliteration retains an important function as one of a poet's sound devices.
An implied or indirect reference to something assumed to be known, such as a historical event or personage, a well-known quotation from literature, or a famous work of art, such as Keats' allusion to Titian's painting of Bacchus in "Ode to a Nightingale."
Sidelight: An allusion can be used by the poet as a means of imagery, since, like a symbol, it can suggest ideas by connotation. Like allegories and parodies, its effectiveness depends upon the reader's acquaintance with the reference alluded to.
See Pattern Poetry
See Cross Rhyme
Applied to words and expressions, the state of being doubtful or indistinct in meaning or capable of being understood in more than one way, in the context in which it is used.
Sidelight: Ambiguity can result from careless or evasive choice of words which bewilder the reader, but its deliberate use is often intended to unify the different interpretations into an expanded enrichment of the meaning of the original expression.
(See also Denotation, Paronomasia, Pun)
In classical poetry, a metrical foot consisting of a long or accented syllable between two short or unaccented syllables, as con-DI-tion or in-FECT-ed.
A verse composition which, while apparently coherent, contains no sense or meaning, as in Nephelidia, a poem written by A. C. Swinburne as a parody of his own alliterative-predominant style, which begins:
From the depth of the dreamy decline of the dawn through a notable nimbus of nebulous noonshine,
Pallid and pink as the palm of the flag-flower that flickers with fear of the flies as they float,
(See also Macaronic Verse, Nonsense Poetry)
The placement of an event, person, or thing out of its proper chronological relationship, sometimes unintentional, but often deliberate as an exercise of poetic license.
Sidelight: Anachronisms most frequently appear in imaginative portrayals with historical settings, such as a clock in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and a reference to billiards in Antony and Cleopatra.
(Compare Hysteron Proteron, In Medias Res)
In classical poetry, the exchange of place between short and long syllables in Ionic feet to alter the rhythm.
A term describing odes written in the style of the Greek poet, Anacreon, convivial in tone or theme, relating to the praise of love and wine, as in Abraham Cowley's Anacreontiques.
Sidelight: Francis Scott Key's 1814 poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," was set to the tune of a popular song of the day, "To Anacreon in Heaven," composed by John Stafford Smith as a drinking song for London's Anacreontic Society. In 1931 it was officially adopted by the U.S. Congress as the national anthem.
One or more unaccented syllables at the beginning of a line of verse that are regarded as preliminary to and not part of the metrical pattern.
(See also Procephalic)
(Compare Feminine Ending, Hypercatalectic)
Also called epanadiplosis, the repetition of a prominent (usually the final) word of a phrase, clause, line, or stanza at the beginning of the next, often with extended or altered meaning, as in: "his hands were folded -- folded in prayer," or Keats' repetition of the word, "forlorn," linking the seventh and eighth stanzas of "Ode to a Nightingale."
(Compare Anaphora, Chain Rhyme, Echo, Epistrophe, Epizeuxis,
Incremental Repetition, Parallelism, Polysyndeton, Refrain, Stornello Verses)
ANAGOGE or ANAGOGY (AN-uh-go-jee)
The spiritual or mystical interpretation of a word or passage beyond the literal, allegorical, or moral sense.
ANALECTS or ANALECTA
Miscellaneous extracts collected from the works of authors.
An agreement or similarity in some particulars between things otherwise different; sleep and death, for example, are analogous in that they both share a lack of animation and a recumbent posture.
Sidelight: Prevalent in literature, the use of an analogy carries the inference that if things agree in some respects, it's likely that they will agree in others.
(Compare Simile, Symbol)
A metrical foot with two short or unaccented syllables followed by a long or accented syllable, as in inter-VENE or for a WHILE. William Cowper's "Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk," is a poem in which anapestic feet are predominately used, as in the opening line:
I am MON | -arch of ALL | I sur-VEY,
Sidelight: In English poetry, with the exception of limericks, anapestic verse is seldom used for whole poems, but can often be highly effective as a variation.
(See also Meter, Rhythm)
Also called epanaphora, the repetition of the same word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or lines for rhetorical or poetic effect, as in Lincoln's "we cannot dedicate- we cannot consecrate-we cannot hallow this ground" or from Fitzgerald's The RubÃƒÂ¡iyÃƒÂ¡t of Omar KhayyÃƒÂ¡m:
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and--sans End!
(See also Epistrophe, Symploce)
(Compare Anadiplosis, Echo, Epizeuxis, Incremental Repetition,
Parallelism, Polysyndeton, Refrain, Stornello Verses)
A type of hyperbaton involving the inversion of the natural or usual syntactical order of a pair of words for rhetorical or poetic effect, as "hillocks green" for "green hillocks," or "high triumphs hold" for "hold high triumphs" in Milton's "L'Allegro," or from the same poem:
Meadows trim, with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide;
(Compare Antistrophe, Chiasmus, Hypallage)
See under Stanza
ANTANACLASIS ( an-tuh-NAK-luh-sis)
A figure of speech in which the same word is repeated in a different sense within a clause or line, e.g., "while we live, let us live."
Sidelight: Since the play on senses can be used to create homonymous puns, antanaclasis is related to paronomasia.
(See also Epanalepsis, Epizeuxis, Ploce, Polyptoton)
See under Polyptoton
A collection of selected literary, artistic, or musical works or parts of works.
(See also Canon, Companion Poem, Cycle, Lyric Sequence, Sonnet Sequence)
In classical poetry, a metrical foot consisting of two long syllables followed by a short syllable.
The intentional use of elevated language to descri