About Colleen

Colleen M. Chesebro ~ Author, Poet, Word-Witch

Crafting Syllabic Poetry is my Ikigari 💜

One day, I stumbled across the Japanese word Ikigari. After some research, I discovered iki means life. In Japanese, Gai means worth or value. When these words combine, they form the definition of ikigari, which is life’s worth. It’s often translated or interpreted as a reason for getting up in the morning. So, yes, writing syllabic poetry is my ikigari.

I also believe writing syllabic poetry strengthens our writing skills. When we create poetry, we gain command of language; cultivate a healthy vocabulary, master literary devices such as metaphor, simile, alliteration, hyperbole, and allegory. We learn to work in imagery. We connect with our ikigari.

When I’m not writing poetry or crafting short stories, you’ll find me digging in my garden, or playing with my two unicorn cats, Chloe & Sophie. I live in East Lansing, Michigan with my husband—my soul mate. Most days you can find me writing poetry on wordcraftpoetry.com. 💜

Colleen M. Chesebro grew up in a large city in the Midwest. Keen on making her own way in the world, she joined the United States Air Force after graduation to tour the world and find herself. To this day, that search continues.

Today, she’s a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.ccom, where poets learn how to create traditional and current forms syllabic poetry.

Colleen created Word Craft Poetry as an uplifting community where poets can learn the basics of writing Japanese and American syllabic poetry by sharing their own poetic inspiration within a weekly poetry challenge called Tanka Tuesday. Participants submit their poetry written in one of the following forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, solo renga, cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger Hexastich, and Abhanga. Poets receive positive feedback from peers who inspire each other to stretch their creativity.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in “Hedgerow, a Journal of Small Poems,” and in “Poetry Treasures,” and “Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships,” including several other online publications. She’s also received several awards for her flash fiction pieces from the Carrot Ranch.com yearly rodeo events.

Colleen created Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in their book publishing needs.

Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordcraftpoetry.com. They published the debut issue of this journal on October 1, 2021.

Word Weaving #1: Digital (Kindle) available HERE

The Moons of Autumn: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse is the print version of the book and found HERE

The reviews are coming in!

D. Peach rated it 5 STARS!

The first Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse invited poets to submit poems around the theme of the Harvest Moon. If you love poems about the moon, you’ll find a plethora of verses among the pages to entrance, haunt, and raise a sigh or smile.

The range of forms is impressive – 18 in total – and the poems are organized by type. Each section begins with a description of the form: number of lines and syllable count, as well as the original focus of the poetic form if there is one (nature or love or human foibles, for example). In this way, the journal is instructive while offering a collection of beautiful poetry.

With approximately 75 poems in the collection, I didn’t make a list of favorites, but the editors chose three “Best of Issue” poems. Below is a Haibun Idyll a combination of prose and haiku.

Moon’s Magic
By D. L. Finn

A lone black cat sits on the edge of the world, under the harvest moon. Her green eyes reflect the celestial beams, and her fur absorbs the stars. She rubs against the night’s promise, and its magic fills her soul.

our perceived shackles
released in nature’s healing
under the moonbeams


Colleen’s newest creation, “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry,” is a tutorial on how to create the twelve syllabic poetry forms she uses in her #TankaTuesday poetry challenge.

Find the book HERE: mybook.to/WordCraftProsePoetry

Here’s what they are saying about “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry”

Marjorie Mallon

Marjorie Mallon Amazon Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Poetry Resource, Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2021, Verified Purchase

This is a comprehensive guide covering both American and Japanese poetry including Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyohka, Haibun, Renga, Crapsey Cinquain Etheree, Nonet, Shadorma, and variations, as well as examples of all the forms and recaps to refresh the memory too.

It is written in such a way that it is easy to understand and get the most from.

The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry begins with an introduction to how Colleen’s journey began – her poetry community, and goes on to discuss definitions of “meter, syllable, and stresses,” and the hard work required to find your creative soul. She suggests ways to encourage creativity, and talks about figurative language too.

It is clear that author Colleen Chesebro has put her heart and soul into this guide and loves helping others to be the best poets they can be. She runs a wonderful community of poets with weekly prompts, (which again must be an incredible amount of work,) and is now expanding her repertoire to include online submissions to her poetry venture with poet JulesPaige. Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com more about that below in her Bio.

What an incredible amount of work, dedication and research has gone into this book and into everything that Colleen Chesebro does.

It is a wonderful resource for both new students of poetry to learn and to refer to whilst writing poetry and for old hands, (such as me,) to jog our memories and to avoid making careless mistakes about the forms!

There is a bibliography at the end with the names/links/detail of all the poets who have contributed to the anthology. I’m delighted that my #Garland #Cinquain poem is included amongst this section along with so many awesome contributions from poetry community members.

My recommendation: This is a fabulous book, and one that Colleen Chesebro should be very proud of.

5 stars. I bought a paperback to use as a resource.


Colleen is also working on “Fairies, Myths, & Magic—A Winter Celebration,” which is a collection of poems, including various Christmas and Winter Solstice mythologies, and short stories dedicated to the darkness of Winter.

The first book in the “Fairies, Myths, & Magic—A Summer Celebration,” is a collection of poems and short stories available in an ebook and in print.

I’m writing as fast as I can!

She contributed a story called “The Changeling,” to the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020: Plaisted Publishing House Presents,” just in time for Halloween.

The day before Halloween, four-year-old Alyssa Byrne disappeared from her home in the desert without a trace. Alyssa’s parents, David and Trish, are frantic to locate their child. With Alyssa’s disappearance, David realizes the Byrne family curse has finally caught up to him.

Growing up in Ireland, David’s mum used to call them “scary faeries.” David and his family had a long history with the good neighbors, and not all of it is good.

Can David and Trish save Alyssa from the wrath of the faeries before it’s too late?

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2021. Relationships are golden and each of Arthur Rosch, Elizabeth Merry, D Avery, Robbie Cheadle, Harmony Kent, Lauren Scott, Julespaige, Leon Stevens, Colleen M. Chesebro, Miriam Hurdle, Marjorie Mallon, and Lynda McKinney Lambert pay poetic tribute to their most intense personal moments.

Chloe & Sophie

Chloe & Sophie joined our family in April 2021.

Get in touch with me below on the contact form, or you can email me at tankatuesdaypoetry@gmail.com

CONNECT WITH ME – I love hearing from you!

Contact Me