Thursday, April 27, 2006

More nontraditional cinquains and the real one

The Dark Before the Dawn.jpgThe idea of the cinquain (and haiku) have inspired a lot of forms! I think the limitations and the compactness must have an appeal. When you look at the simplicity of the patterns it gives you the feeling "I could do that!"

Here's another nontraditional Cinquain Pattern:
  1. One word (subject)
  2. Two words
  3. Three words
  4. Four words
  5. One word
And an example from Cinquain poems:
Lived once,
Long ago, but
Only dust and dreams

-- by Cindy Barden
And a third nontraditional cinquain pattern:
  1. Title noun (if you want a one syllable subject like dog, put an article or other word in front like "a dog", "the dog" or "oh, dog".)
  2. Description
  3. Action
  4. Feeling or effect
  5. Synonym of the initial noun. (You can get poetic here.)

The Real Cinquain

A cinquain is based on syllables. Each line has:



The Cinquain was invented by Adelaide Crapsey (yes, Crapsey) after being inspired by haiku, the Japanese 17 syllable poetic form.

Here's one of hers:

These be
Three silent things:
The falling snow... the hour
Before the dawn... the mouth of one
Just dead.
In a good cinquain the lines should flow together rather than sounding like separate lines.

Here's some Cinquain Guidelines from Writer's Resource Center:

The line length is the only firm rule, but there are other guidelines that people have tried to impose from time to time.
  • Write about a noun. Cinquains generally fail if you try to make them about emotions, philosophies or other complex subjects. They should be about something concrete.
  • Don’t try to make each line complete or express a single thought. Each line should flow into the next or the poem will sound static.
  • Cinquains work best if you avoid adjectives and adverbs. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any, but focus on the nouns and the verbs. This almost always works best in a cinquain.
  • The poem should build toward a climax. The last line should serve as some sort of conclusion to the earlier thoughts. Often, the conclusion has some sort of surprise built into it.
  • Write in iambs (Two syllable groupings in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second syllable stressed. For Example: i DRANK she SMILED we TALKED i THOUGHT) For the last line of the cinquain, however, both syllables should be stressed, NICE BAR.
There are more patterns and examples at Cinquain Poems. (The 3rd pattern is the traditional one.)
Post a Comment