Bakers Dozen: Creative Writing Workbook (Chapter 9, page 1 of 2)


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Chapter 9

There are some easy-to-write short forms of poetry. Some of those follow.

A. Haiku -- an ancient form of poetry which follows these guidelines.

1. A 3-line poem about nature 2. It is a "word" snapshot trying to capture one moment in time 3. The first line has five syllables 4. The second line has just seven syllables 5. The third line has just five syllables One of the Haiku I wrote was published in a magazine called Dragonfly Quarterly.

The inspiration first came to me one brisk, fall night at about dusk. We lived out in the woods, and this particular night I heard a coyote.

Coyote's wail shivering in the gray dusk lingers on cold air.

Now, you write one.

B. Another form of fun poetry to write is terse verse. This kind of poem has a really long title and a short stanza: a rhyming couplet.

What the Bored Student Called His Teacher Who Liked to Talk Way too Much: Preacher Teacher.

C. Another short form is called the Cinquain (a five line poem)

1. One variation on the Cinqauin uses syllables. The first line uses two syllables, the second line uses four syllables, the third line uses six syllables, the fourth line uses eight syllables, and the fifth line uses two syllables.

2. Another form of the cinquain uses the first line to use one word naming an object. The second line is two words describing the object.

The third line is three words describing an action associated with the object.

The fourth line is four words expressing an attitude about the object.

The fifth line is one word either repeating the opening line or summarizing.

Here is an example of the second form of the cinquain.

Pencil, sharp, worn writing my life soothing my open wounds -life.

(Not great, but you get the point! Get it! Pencil. Point.)

D. Computer-generated poem. Follow this format to write a computer-generated poem. (Challenge your friends with other computer-generated poem forms)

Line 1: Article, adjective noun Line 2: verb, simile Line 3: Prepositional phrase Line 4: I, verb Line 5: prepositional phrase Line 6: and, verb Line 7: prepositional phrase Line 8: simile Line 9: the, noun Line 10: verb Line 11: prepositional phrase Here's an example of a computer-generated poem that I wrote.

The mighty oak waves like a child in the gentle breeze.

I watch from my window and listen to the birds singing like angel choirs.

The clouds float through the sky.

(Can you tell where I cheated just a little? This kind of cheating is called poetic license and is perfectly legal for poets.)

E. Another fun form of poetry is "word" poetry. Cut out 50 words from newspaper headlines and place them in a hat. Draw out 25 of these words and try to arrange them into some sort of poem.

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