Participants can submit their poetry written in one of the following forms: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, renga, cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger Hexastich, or Abhanga. Poets receive positive feedback from peers who inspire each other to stretch their creativity.
This tutorial will help poets learn the different forms to use for the weekly Tanka Tuesday (Syllabic) Poetry Challenge: haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, shadorma, Badger Hexastich, or Abhanga. (updated 2/16/2021)
HAIKU IN ENGLISH: Traditional Haiku in English is written in three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the last line: 5/7/5, for a total of seventeen syllables written in the present tense.
SENRYU IN ENGLISH: Traditional 5/7/5, Current 3/5/3, and Current 2/3/2syllable structure. A Senryu is written about love, a personal event, and should have irony present.
HAIGA IN ENGLISH: First, the haiku or senryu portion of the poem is the most important part and must standalone without the image. It is created by using the traditional 5/7/5, or the current 3/5/3, or the current 2/3/2 syllable structure (but not all three together). Haiga, often called observational poetry, contains an image with either a haiku or senryu written on it or near it. Haiga usually combines three art forms: imagery: photographs or original art, poetry, and calligraphy.
TANKA IN ENGLISH: 5/7/5/7/7 syllable structure. Your Tanka will consist of 5 lines written in the first-person point of view from the perspective of the poet. When writing a Tanka, the third line is considered your “pivot,” but feel free to let it happen anywhere, or to exclude it. It is not mandatory. If you do use a pivot, the meaning should apply to the first two lines, as well as the last two lines of your Tanka. Remember, Great Tanka can be read both forward and backward.
GOGYOHKA IN ENGLISH: A Gogyohka is a short poem based on the ancient Japanese tanka.
HAIBUN IN ENGLISH: The rules for constructing a Haibun are simple.
TANKA PROSE: Tanka prose combines two types of writing verse and prose.
RENGA, SOLO-RENGA, SOLO-NO-RENGA: The Renga or Renku is syllabic, featuring alternating stanzas, usually of 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllables. (onji or the Japanese sound symbol for which there is no exact translation in English, the closest we can come in translation is a syllable)
• A cooperative poem, written by 2 or more poets.
• Composed with stanzas or verses that “link and shift”, it does not tell a sequential story.
• Structured with a beginning, middle and end. Hokku (starting verse), followed by linked verses, and ends with a Tanka (small poem).
• Connected to the seasons. The hokku shows the season in which the gathering occurs, somewhere within the renga, there should be verses referring to each of the seasons to create a complete circle.
The first part of the renga is a (5/7/5) haiku (hokku) written by your guest. The second part of the renga is the host’s response (wakiku): (7/7). The renga’s value exists in the interaction between the different links. It’s that transition between the first three lines and how they leap to the last two lines, penned by two different poets, that defines the renga.
Now, you can see where the renga resembles the tanka: 5/7/5, 7/7. The difference between the tanka (written by one poet), and the renga (two poets collaborate to write the poem) is the number of authors. Sometimes, you will see a renga called a “Tan-Renga” which means short poem. It still means the same thing.
(Remember, the renga will feature a haiku (nature related) where a tanka is a much looser form, allowing for different subjects other than nature. A tanka does not require the first three lines to be a haiku. There’s your difference between a renga and a tanka).
A solo renga or solo no renga both mean that the renga was written by one poet. The first three lines are still a haiku, and the last two lines are written with seven syllables per line. It is customary to write the haiku, skip a line between and then add the last two lines.
CINQUAIN: A cinquain is a form of shape poetry that looks great centered on the page. The required syllables needed for each line give it a unique shape. The cinquain (aka the quintain or the quintet) is a poem or stanza of five lines.
The Crapsey cinquain is a five-line, non-rhyming poem featuring a syllable structure of 2/4/6/8/2. Choose words that create drama which builds into the fourth line. Remember, the turn occurs on line five, the most important line. This is where you change your focus away from the drama in some interesting way. Surprise your readers!
The Crapsey cinquain has seen several variations by modern poets, including:
|Reverse cinquain||a form with one 5-line stanza in a syllabic pattern of two, eight, six, four, two.|
|Mirror cinquain||a form with two 5-line stanzas consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain.|
|Butterfly cinquain||a nine-line syllabic form with the pattern two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.|
|Crown cinquain||a sequence of five cinquain stanzas functioning to construct one larger poem.|
|Garland cinquain||a series of six cinquains in which the last is formed of lines from the preceding five, typically line one from stanza one, line two from stanza two, and so on.|
ETHEREE: The Etheree poem consists of ten lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables. An Etheree can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The trick is to create a memorable message within the required format. Poets can get creative and write an Etheree with more than one verse, but the idea is to follow suit with an inverted syllable count.
An Etheree should focus on one idea or subject. Remember to create a memorable message within the required Etheree syllabic count. The poem is unrhymed but should contain rhythm and flow. Always give your Etheree poem a title. This form must include a sense of meaning with the emphasis on imagery.
The table below will help you remember the different types of Etheree poetry:
|Classic Etheree||Ten lines featuring a syllable count of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 syllables per line.|
|Reverse Etheree||Ten lines featuring a syllable count of 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 syllables per line.|
|Stacked/Double Etheree||Twenty lines with a syllable count of1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10, 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 syllables per line, which looks like two triangles joined together in the center.|
|Stacked/Double Inverted Etheree||Twenty lines with a syllable count per line of 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10 syllables per line, which looks like an hourglass when centered on the page.|
NONET: A nonet is stanzaic and written in any number of 9-line stanzas with the following syllable count per line: 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 syllables per line. It can be written on any subject and rhyming is optional, although they are usually unrhymed. Because of the hourglass shape of a double nonet, it can be used to represent time’s passage.
Decide on a meaningful subject and add a title to your nonet. Don’t use words that rhyme. Instead, choose nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Always show more than you tell. Use minimal punctuation.
The table below will assist you in writing nonet poetry.
|Classic Nonet||Nine lines featuring a syllable count of 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 syllables per line.|
|Reverse or Inverted Nonet||Nine lines featuring a syllable count of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 syllables per line.|
At least two or more stanzas with nine lines each, featuring a syllable count of 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 or (double reversed) 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9, 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 syllables per line.
|Double Inverted Nonet||Eighteen lines with a syllable count per line of 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9, 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 which looks like two triangles joined in the middle or 9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1, 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 syllables per line which looks like an hourglass.|
SHADORMA: The Shadorma is a poetic form consisting of a six-line stanza (or sestet). Each stanza has a syllable count of three syllables in the first line, five syllables in the second line, three syllables in the third and fourth lines, seven syllables in the fifth line, and five syllables in the sixth line (3/5/3/3/7/5) for a total of 26 syllables with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5.
When writing a Shadorma I would concentrate on a specific subject. The brevity of syllables is perfect for that kind of structure.
A Shadorma poem may consist of one stanza or an unlimited number of stanzas (a series of shadormas). This form can have many stanzas, if each stanza follows the meter.
BADGER HEXASTICH: The Badger Hexastich is syllabic and written in six lines with a 2/4/6/6/4/2 structure. It is unrhymed with optional rising and falling end-words, which I think is an interesting twist.
The optional rising and falling end-words often refer to the intonation or rhythm of speech. I also believe from the examples that the rising and falling end-words often end in “ing,” but not always. (See the second poem below). This is a made up form and sometimes that makes it difficult to understand what the creator intended. I would stay as close to the examples below as you can for continuity.
Another explanation for the rising and falling end-words could be simply writing a definite beginning and end where everyone can interpret the meaning, like in the third poem below.
Or, the rising and falling end-words could be opposites, like in the first poem below:
"Growing" Fall down consider tears-- crawl to where grandpa sits grab onto grandpa's leg grin like a fox-- stand up © Lawrencealot - February 16, 2014
reading, rooted in mind, not tasting ripe berries, the oozing summer scent, window open, waiting ~~Phil Wood
First flight, small granddaughter visits Grandma with Dad, Mom, brother and sisters in soccer play-offs back home. --Judi Van Gorder
ABHANGA: “The completion” is a stanzaic form commonly used for devotional poetic composition, although it has also been used for cynicism, satire and reflective moods. It was popular from the 13th thru 17th centuries Marathi Region of India and is described as complex and classic. (poetrymagnumopus.com)
The elements of the Abhanga are:
Here is my example:
magic is found within breathe deep into your core open your heart and soar find inner peace ©2021 Colleen M. Chesebro
Additional syllabic forms will be added in 2021.