Experiment With Poetic Forms, Volume II
Five additional forms to elevate your prose
A while back, I wrote an article over at The Writing Cooperative about the importance of writing poetry and how essential it is to enhancing one’s prose. The piece, Experiment With Poetic Forms, also introduced a handful of closed forms of poetry, including the limerick, lanturne, haiku, etheree, and clerihew.
Today, I bring you five additional forms to play around with. Like before, they are all closed forms — meaning they have a set rhyme scheme, syllabic structure, or follow some type of guideline or parameter. Prose writers: branch outside of your comfort zone! Give poetry a chance and test your limits. Down the line (if you choose to take the plunge), you may find yourself thinking more critically about word choice, details, and economizing language.
1.Abacadaba — yes, you read that correctly: Abacadaba, not Abracadabra! As you might have guessed, the Abacadaba (or “Magic 9”) is a nine-line poem that relies on rhyme scheme. This is a newer form that’s easy to remember — just eliminate the “r” in Abracadabra. Other than following the rhyme scheme, no other rules apply, so it’s pretty wide open for experimentation.
2. Ae Freislighe — if you are up for a real challenge, try tackling the Irish form, ae fresilighe. An ae freislighe is a quatrain (four line stanza) with seven syllables per line. The tricky part is the rhyming. Lines one and three rhyme, but they rhyme as three syllables (xxa). Lines two and four rhyme, but as two syllables (xb). Lastly, the final syllable of the entire poem should rhyme with the first word of the entire poem.
3. Cinquain — the cinquain is a five-line poetic form with a specific syllabic pattern of 2–4–6–8–2, which make them much simpler to write than other forms on this list.
4. Clogyrnach — the Welsh clogyrnach is a six-line poem consisting of the following syllabic structure: 8–8–5–5–3–3. There is a set rhyme scheme as well: a-a-b-b-b-a.
5. Dodoitsu — the dodoitsu is a Japanese form of poetry dating back to the mid nineteenth century. Like the haiku, the dodoitsu focuses on syllables per line, rather than a set meter or rhyme. The dodoitsu consists of four total lines. The first three lines all have seven syllables, while the fourth and final line only has five. Common themes are work or love — sometimes with a humorous take.
Best of luck to you in your writing ventures!
Justin Deming lives and teaches in the Hudson Valley region of New York. His fiction has appeared in 50-Word Stories, Ripples in Space, Spelk, and is forthcoming in Flash Fiction Magazine and Frontier Tales. He can be found on Twitter @j_deming_.