The Haiku Shack
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The Haiku Shack

Writers, Have You Tried These New Forms?

An introduction to the Flashku, Kindku, Pareiku, Sixku, and Vardhaku

Are you looking to challenge yourself creatively? If so, I have a treat for you today.

I am the (co-)creator of five unique literary forms: the Flashku, Kindku, Pareiku, Sixku, and Vardhaku. They all pay homage to the haiku; three of them tap into my passion for photography.

The Flashku

I created the Flashku in 2021.

A Flashku is a short piece of flash fiction (50–100 words) inspired by an image. It contains minimal descriptions and uses seven words borrowed from another piece. The climax should be reached at about 80% through the story, while the ending must contain a positive / inspirational twist or resolution.

Example of Flashku

Photo credit: Cendrine Marrouat

When they greeted each other, she asked herself if it was love.

Suddenly, the reflection in the puddle was disturbed. “Pitter-patter,” said the rain. They smiled.

“The garden is not far. Just at the end of the road,” he said, gently inviting her to follow him. Their wanderings together always were a unique source of comfort. So, she jumped over the puddle…

Mesmerized by the crackling fire, she remembered the silence of their first kiss.

And now, a lifetime later, as they looked at each other, she finally knew.

© 2021 Cendrine Marrouat

Flashku inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s The Wanderer

The Kindku

I co-created the Kindku with author and poet David Ellis in 2020, as an invitation to promote kindness, positivity and inspiration through poetry.

The Kindku is a short poem of seven lines. The syllable pattern is 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 or 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5.

The Kindku must include seven words that are taken from one specific source — a poem, a book, a newspaper article, etc. In the case of a book or long piece of writing, those words must come from the same page.

Words must be used in the order they were found. Their placement also depends on the line:

  • Line 1 starts with word 1
  • Line 2 ends with word 2
  • Line 3 starts with word 3
  • Line 4 ends with word 4
  • Line 5 starts with word 5
  • Line 6 ends with word 6
  • Line 7 starts or ends with word 7

Kindku poems can have titles and punctuation. No matter the topic covered, they must sport a positive tone.

Kindku poets are encouraged to credit and link to the inspirations behind their pieces.

Example of Kindku

Art Writes Itself

Art writes itself in the heart

before other things;

intent lingers for a while

inviting practice,

lost hope to find a new map.

on this continent

you are the only master.

© 2020 Cendrine Marrouat

- Kindku inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art

The Pareiku

The Pareiku is another poetry form that I co-created with author and poet David Ellis in 2020.

The word “pareiku” is a combination of two ideas:

  • ‘pareidolia’ — the tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern.
  • ‘-ku’ — a tribute to Japanese poetry forms like the haiku and tanka.

The Pareiku is a unique type of art that features the visual and poetic elements. Two seemingly unrelated images are linked together as one by a short 19-syllable poem that follows the 7/5/7 syllable pattern.

A Pareiku must have a title, but the punctuation of the poem is optional. The two images can feature the same or different types of visual art (photography, paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc.). However, you must own copyrights or have permission from the artist(s) to use those images. Furthermore, credits are required at the end of your piece.

Pareiku are meant to be positive / inspirational and family-friendly. This means: no erotica and no swear words allowed.

Example of Pareiku

Years ago, we did not know:

even hidden notes

find their way into bird songs.

© 2020 Cendrine Marrouat

The Sixku

The sixku (pronounce ‘sis-ku’) is a poetry form that I created in 2019.

Sixku are six-word, untitled poems which must be inspired by and contain a photograph. A reference to nature is encouraged.

The Sixku has three lines:

  • Line 1 = idea 1 (one or two word(s))
  • Line 2 = idea 2 (two or three words)
  • Line 3 = twist, surprise (remaining words)

A seventh word is acceptable, only if it is an article or preposition (e.g. ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘up’, ‘down’…). Do not abuse this exception, though.

Complete sentences and punctuation are optional and the use of the past tense is allowed.

Example of Sixku

Afternoon shadows;

fluid shapes

are poetry.

© 2020 Cendrine Marrouat

The Vardhaku

The Vardhaku is a poetry form I co-invented with Vocal writer Justin Smith in 2021, as an invitation to reflect on one’s personal growth.

The Vardhaku is a portmanteau word consisting of the following elements:

  • “vardha”, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the act of increasing, giving increase or prosperity; augmenting; gladdening’ or ‘cutting, dividing’ (Source: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary)
  • “ku”, as in ‘haiku’

The Vardhaku is an expanding five-line poem divided into two parts: The first four lines describe a problem or situation, with the fifth line offering a positive / inspirational resolution. Title and punctuation are optional.

Using a combination of syllables and words, the Vardhaku mainly focuses on conciseness to deliver an impactful message to the reader. It must be composed in one of the following formats:

  • 1, 3, 5, 7 words (lines 1–4) / 10 syllables (line 5)
  • 1, 3, 5, 7 syllables (lines 1–4) / 10 words (line 5)
  • 2, 4, 6, 8 words (lines 1–4) / 11 syllables (line 5)
  • 2, 4, 6, 8 syllables (lines 1–4) / 11 words (line 5)

Example of Vardhaku

This

the long hours

the long forgotten

embrace of our yesterday:

we are still swimming in a deep ocean of love.

© 2021 Cendrine Marrouat

That’s it for today!

Originally published at https://vocal.media.

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The Haiku Shack celebrates positive and inspirational poetry and art.

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Cendrine Marrouat

Cendrine Marrouat

Poet, photographer, writer, author, co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms / PoArtMo, and (co-)creator of literary forms. https://creativeramblings.com.

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