Poetry from A to Z!

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…and as I’ve mentioned, I’m off to combine them…

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And here are the 26 letter and the 26 forms from 16 countries!!!

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A is for Aubade (France)

Alba or Aubade are:

  1. a love poem, most often mourning the parting of lovers while extolling the coming day.
  2. constructed at the discretion of the poet, length, stanzaic form, meter and or rhyme. although often a smattering of rhyme is present without any particular rhyme scheme.
  3. dramatic since it is often dialogue between the parting lovers or coming from a cuckold husband or a watchman’ warning. Sometimes dialogue is silent, expressed in images.

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B is for Butterfly Cinquain (USA)

Butterfly Cinquain isn’t a cinquain at all:it is a nonostich (9 lines)and uses the syllable count of the Crapsey Cinquain and then reverses it, therefore the misnomer.  The elements of the Butterfly Cinquain are:

  1. 9 line poem.
  2. syllabic, 2-4-6-8-2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.
  3. unrhymed

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C is for Conachlonn (Ireland)

The Conachlonn is simply the Irish version of chained verse, examples found at Celtia.

The elements of the Conachlonn are:

  1. written in any number of lines.
  2. syllabic at the poet’s discretion, often 8 or 9 syllable lines
  3. assonant chained rhymed, meaning the vowel sound of the last syllable of the line is repeated at the beginning of the next line.
  4. written with dunadh, the beginning syllable ends the poem.

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D is for Doha (India)

The Doha is a Hindi stanzaic form employing a rhyming couplet with long syllabic lines.The Doha is also used in Urdu verse. This form steps away from the Hindi tradition of romantic verse and is often written as didactic or used in longer narrative verse.

The elements of the Doha are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of couplets.
  2. syllabic, each line is made up of 24 syllables and is paused by caesura at the end of the 13th syllable, making the line two phrases of 13 and 11 syllables. The couplet can be arranged as a quatrain breaking the line at the caesura.
  3. rhymed, aa bb cc
  4. commonly used for proverbs and/or for longer narratives or didactic poetry.

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E is for Endecha (Spain)

The Endecha is a ” The Canción triste que encierra un lamento”, (“sad song that locks up a moan”), a 16th century Spanish dirge or song of sorrow.

The elements of the Endecha are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  2. syllabic, written with 7-7-7-11 syllables per line.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme xaxa xbxb etc., x being unrhymed. The rhyme is often consonance only but true rhyme may be used.

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F is for Fib (USA)

The Fib is the brain child of American screenwriter, Gregory Pincus found in his blog at GottaBook in 2006 . The Fib is his solution for the need to write Haiku with a few more syllables. Based on the Fibonacci concept of the sequential numbers 0-1-1-2-3-5-8, It is a hexastich with progressive syllable count and has become very popular on the internet. The elements of the Fib are:

  1. a hexastich, a poem in 6 lines
  2. syllabic, syllables 1-1-2-3-5-8

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G is for Go Vat (Cambodia)

The Go Vat is a stanzaic form which according the Poet’s Garrett apparently was popular in Cambodia in the late 1800s. The line length and refrain are suspected to be influenced by the French who colonized Cambodia during that period.

The elements of the Go Vat are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of tercets.
  2. syllabic, each line is most commonly 8 syllables.
  3. rhymed, turned on only 2 rhymes, aaB aaB aaB etc.
  4. written with a refrain. L3 of each tercet is a repetition of either the whole or part of L3 of the 1st tercet.

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H is for Haiku (Japan)

Haiku are:

  1. syllabic (17 syllables or less)
  2. an imagist poem (draws the emotion from the image). Concrete images are described. It is important in haiku to deemphasize the ego. The subject, not the poet is what focuses the haiku. “One of the most common characteristics of haiku,. . . . is silence.” Bruce Ross. The words silence or stillness can be used in haiku, but it is the concrete image as described that makes the reader respond to the feeling of silence.
  3. written in the moment. The past can be referred to as long as it doesn’t overpower the present.
  4. one of two forms “traditional” or “modern”
        “traditional” requires a season be named and images and emotions be drawn from of nature.
        “modern” can be images of relationship, personality, experience, etc
  5. often a tristich, commonly written in 3 lines. BUT, it can be written in 1 or 2 lines. (if not broken into 3 lines, the haiku should still follow the pattern of 3 units, 2 images that either conflict or expand resulting in insight.) The common break down of syllables:
    • L1 5 syllables describes image (traditional name season)
    • L2 7 syllables, adds conflicting image or expands first image
    • L3 5 syllables provide insight (the ah ha! moment) through a juxtaposed

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I is for Imayo (Japan)

Imayo It seems that whenever I research a Japanese form, it involves an alternating 5-7 or 7-5 syllabic structure. The Imayo (present style) of the 12th century is no exception. This form creates long lines broken by caesura separating 7 and 5 syllables in the line.

Imayo are:

  1. a 4 line poem.
  2. syllabic, written in 12 syllable lines broken by caesura after the 7th syllable.

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J is for Janaku (The Philippines)

The Hay(na)ku or Jánakú is an invented verse form inspired by the haiku that is measured by number of words instead of syllables. It was introduced in 2003 by Eileen Tabios, the then pulisher of Meritage Press. The name Haynaku is the Tagalog equivalent of Oh My God!  The elements of the Hay(na)ku are:

  1. a tristich, a poem written in 3 lines.
  2. measured by number of words, L1 is one word, L2 is two words and L3 is three words. There is no restriction on number of syllables in the words.
  3. unrhymed.
  4. variable, the line order can be reversed, or the form can be chained to create a series of Haynakus.

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K is for Kasa (Korea)

Kasa in Korean means song-words and is compared to the Chinese rhyme prose (fu). Its defining features are the lack of stanza breaks, lines of variable length and its tendency to describe through parallelism. The form dates back to 15th century Korea.

The Kasa, (song-words) the elements are:

  1. syllabic, 7-syllable lines broken by caesura into alternating groups of 3 and 4 syllables or 8 syllable lines broken by caesura into equal 4 syllable phrases.
  2. strophic which can vary in number of lines.
  3. tends to describe or expose through parallels.
  4. written from unrequited love, patriotism, daily life, nostalgia, etc.

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L is for Lanterne (USA)

Lanterne are:

  1. a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  2. syllabic, 1-2-3-4-1 syllables per line.
  3. is composed with no punctuation and no rhyme, each end-word should be strong.
  4. centered on the page. Since this is a concrete or shape poem, the length of the word on the page factors into the equation, syllable count is not enough to determine the selection.
  5. title optional.

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M is for Musette (USA)

The Musette is an invented verse form that presents the challenge of writing in very short lines. This form was introduced by Emily Romano and found only at Shadow Poetry. The elements of the Musette are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of tercets.
  2. syllabic, 2-4-2 2-4-2 2-4-2 syllables per line.
  3. rhymed axa bxb cxc etc. x being unrhymed.

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N is for Naani (India)

The Naani is a stanzaic form found at Shadow Poetry and is most often an observation of human relations or current events although it can be open to any subject. Naani means “an expression of one and all”. The stanza form was introduced by Dr. N. Gopi an administrator at the Teluga University.

The Naani are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  2. syllabic, with a total syllable count of between 20 and 25 syllables.

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O is for Object Poem (Germany)

The Dinggedicht or Object Poem is a things poem.This is a genre of poetry in which communication of mood or thought is made through acute observation of things and symbolic concentration. It was introduced in the early 1900s by Austrian poet, Rainer Maria Rilke while studying impressionist paintings.

Dinggedicht are:

  1. framed at the discretion of the poet.
  2. formed by acute observations of concrete images in the world around, expressing symbolically an event, social condition, mood or idea.

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P is for Pantun (Malaysia)

The Pantun was at one time an integral part of Malaysian life, used to propose marriage, to tell a proverb, or to celebrate just about any occasion, even shared between warriors about to battle. It is originally folk verse.

The elements of the Pantun are:

  1. most often a poem in a single quatrain made up of two complete couplets.
  2. syllabic, all lines are of the same length, lines are written in 8 to 12 syllables each.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme abab.
  4. written in two complete couplets. The first , the shadow is to set the structure but its focus may be quite different from the second couplet, the meaning in which the message is set.

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Q is for Quintilla (Spain)

The Quintilla is a 16th century Spanish quintain with a rhyme scheme that is more about what cannot be done than what can be done.

The elements of the Quintilla are:

  1. syllabic verse, octasyllabic (8 syllable lines)
  2. stanzaic, written in any number of quintains (5 line stanzas).
  3. In each quintain only 2 rhymes can be used and it cannot end in a rhyming couplet.
  4. There is choice of rhyme schemes of ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba
  5. when written as a decastich, (2 quintillas) the verse is known as Copla Real

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R is for Raay (Thailand)

The Raay or Rai is a forerunner of the Kloang and has the same unique tonal pattern. It is a chained verse, written with the end syllable of L1 rhymed with the beginning syllable of L2. It was often used to record laws and chronicle events in verse. The elements of the Raay are

  1. stanzaic, written in a series of couplets.
  2. syllabic, 5 syllables per line.
  3. chain rhymed, the last syllable of L1 rhymes with the first syllable of L2.

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S is for Sedoka (Japan)

Sedoka, (旋頭歌 whirling head poem) is in many ways the same verse form as the Mondo. However the Sedoka is written by 1 poet and rather than question-answer, the 2 stanzas are often parallels. This verse can be found as far back as the 6th century.

The elements of Sedoka are:

  1. 2 stanzas of 3 lines each, 19 syllables or less, often 5-7-7, sometime 5-7- 5 is used for each stanza.
  2. the stanzas should parallel each other.

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T is for Tanaga (The Philippines)

The Tanaga is a Filipino stanzaic form that was originally written in Tagolog which to my ear is one of the more musical of languages. (Kumusta ka? Mabuti salam at) The form dates back to the 16th century and has an oral tradition. The poems are not titled. Each is emotionally charged and asks a question that begs an anwer. This form was found at Kaleidoscope.  The elements of the Tanaga are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  2. syllabic, 7-7-7-7 syllables per line.
  3. rhymed, originally aaaa bbbb cccc etc., modern Tanagas also use aabb ccdd etc or abba cddc etc or any combination rhyme can be used.
  4. composed with the liberal use of metaphor.
  5. untitled

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U is for Utendi (East Africa)

The Utendi or Untenzi (Swahili meaning deed or act) is a Swahili stanzaic form that I first found at Vole Central that is a Zejel without the Mudanza. The form is usually a narrative and should tell a story. Swahili epics appear in this form.

The elements of the Utendi are:

African Poetic Genres and Forms

  1. a narrative.
  2. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  3. syllabic, 8 syllable lines.
  4. rhymed, rhyme aaab cccb dddb etc. The b rhyme is a linking rhyme between stanzas.

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V is for Vakh (Pakistan)

Vakh (Sanskrit – “speech” interpreted by some as “verse teaching”) is a 14th century stanzaic form, originated by a woman poet, Lalla-Devi or Lallashwari, a Kashmiri Shaivite mystic and Sufi saint. 258 poems by Lalla were preserved in this form ranging from songs, proverbs and prayers. This form is found among the earliest Kashmiri literature and records when the Kashmiri language emerged from a descendant of Sanskrit.

The elements of the  Vakh are:

  1. a tetrastich, a poem in 4 lines although it has occasionally been found in a couple of stanzas of 4 lines.
  2. syllabic, lines of 7 syllables each, with 4 stresses per line.
  3. occasionally rhymed with true or near rhyme.

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W is for Wayra (Peru and Bolivia)

The Wayra (Quechua – wind ) is a popular verse form of Peru and Bolivia. It appears it originated in an indigenous Quechua language but has found its way into Spanish literature. It is a short syllabic verse form found at Vole Central and some other sites around the internet.

The elements of the Wayra are:

  1. a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  2. syllabic, 5-7-7-6-8
  3. unrhymed

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X is for Xiaoshi (China)

Xiaoshi, (small poem,shi = poetry / xiao = little, diminutive or small) is a genre of Chinese poetry from the 1920s. It is a fragmented poem with minimal explanation. It teams seemingly unrelated images with little indication of cause and effect. The frame is at the discretion of the poet although in sync with most Chinese poetry, it is common to be written as a quatrain.

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Y is for Ya-Du (Burma/Myanmar)

The Ya-Du or ritú (season) is stanzaic form dedicated to the seasons. The theme should express the emotions the seasons evoke. The form is a 15th century Burmese pattern using a climbing rhyme.  The elements of the Ya-Du are:

  1. L1-L4 tetrasyllabic (4) and L5 may be 5,7, 9, or 11 syllables. 4-4-4-4-(5,7,9, or 11)
  2. stanzaic, written in no more than 3 cinquains.
  3. The form employs a climbing rhyme in which the 4th syllable of L1 rhymes with the 3rd syllable of L2 and the 2nd syllable of L3. L4 and L5 end rhyme.
  4. dedicated to the seasons and the emotions they evoke.

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Z is for Zéjel (Spain)

Zéjel is a romantic Spanish form with Arabic influence related to the Qasida and adopted by the Spanish troubadours of 15th century.

Zéjel are:

  1. syllabic, most often written in 8 syllable lines.
  2. stanzaic, opening with a mono-rhymed triplet followed by any number of quatrains.
  3. rhymed, the rhyme of the opening mudanza establishes a linking rhyme with the end line of the succeeding quatrains. Rhyme scheme, aaa bbba ddda etc

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That’s it! Come join me! 😉

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Reference: Poetry Magnum Opus

Published by areadingwriter

I read because I write. | I write because I read.

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41 Comments

  1. Great theme and combination with NaPoWRriMo. I can see you put a great deal of thought into your theme using poetry themes from diverse contrived. I love that and look forward to reading it. Cheers my friend 🙂

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  2. OMG!!! This is brilliant. And scary 🙈 Let me see if I can try and attempt some of the forms *hides under the table* 🙊 I’m so happy to come here again. Although I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up with all your posts 😭

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  3. Whoa! I’ll tell you all the best, but I know you’re going to do well, so I’ll just sit back and enjoy. 🙂

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  4. Pingback: NJSays
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