One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Mini-Challenge for Sunday

Working 9 to 5...

Last week, in throwing a mini-challenge out there, I selected the Mirror Oddquain, a form I was introduced to by a writer whom I met on two years ago. It was only when I read the responses and some of the comments that I realized that this form may not officially ‘exist’, so I did some research.
The Cinquain is defined on Wikipedia as being a class of poetic forms that employ a 5-line pattern. Earlier used to describe any five-line form, it now refers to one of several forms that are defined by specific rules and guidelines.

American poet Adelaide Crapsey invented the modern form, inspired by Japanese haiku and tanka. In her 1915 collection titled Verse, published one year after her death, Crapsey included 28 cinquains.
Crapsey's cinquains utilized an increasing syllable count in the first four lines, namely two in the first, four in the second, six in the third, and eight in the fourth, before returning to two syllables on the last line. In addition, though little emphasized by critics, each line in the majority of Crapsey cinquains has a fixed number of stressed syllables, as well, following the pattern one, two, three, four, one. The most common metrical foot in her twenty-eight published examples is the iamb, though this is not exclusive. Lines generally do not rhyme. In contrast to the Eastern forms upon which she based them, Crapsey always titled her cinquains, effectively utilizing the title as a sixth line.

The form is illustrated by Crapsey's "November Night":

With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

I believe the Oddquain was developed from this form, using an odd rather than even syllable count. Here are other variations on the form:

Reverse Cinquain - a form with one 5-line stanza in a syllabic pattern of 2 8 6 4 2

Mirror Cinquain – a form with two 5-line stanzas consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain

Butterfly Cinquain – a 9-line stanza with a syllabic pattern of 2 4 6 8 2 8 6 4 2

Crown Cinquain – a sequence of 5 cinquain stanzas functioning to construct one longer 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.

Below is a Linky which can be used from today, and will remain open for anyone who would like to try one or more of these 5-liners.  If you have written in this form before, we would love you to share those poems with us too.


Kerry O'Connor said...

I was inspired to write a poem in the Crown Cinquain form after reading several which Marian had posted at Runaway Sentence. I loved the lightness and delicacy of each stanza, and felt that 5 was a good number to work with - a single stanza being a little limiting for me. I have posted this older poem as an example here, but will work on something else too. I do hope Marian will share some of her brilliant cinquains with us. (hint, hint)

Kerry O'Connor said...

I gave the Butterfly variation a go.

Fireblossom said...

Okay, I'm officially in brainlock. Besides, I think I shocked my poor readers too badly by writing haikus and using form within the span of a week. :-P

But...I officially like Real Toads better than the Other Leading Brand.

Marian said...

oh you flatter me, Kerry! hah! CINQUAIN IS MY SPECIAL FAVORITE. i've linked a few here but have written billions... if anyone's interested, you can click "cinquain" in the word cloud on the right side of the RS and browse around. i would be more than pleased if y'all come by to read!

Heaven said...

very nice prompt and form.. I gave it a go ~

The Old Raven said...

Wasn't going to write here ... but Kerry, you really did inspire me!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thanks all! This is really just to keep the mind active on a laid-back Sunday... cure for boredom, so to speak.
Marian, Thanks so much for the generous sharing!
Shay, I'm glad you dropped by - you're always welcome to skip the forms :)
Heaven, Thanks for giving it a go.
Old Raven, happy to inspire :)

Susie Clevenger said...

This is my first attempt at writing a cinquain...I chose the butterfly cinquain...thanks for the challenge!

Marian said...

new one! a mirror, literally and figuratively.
i love love love all of your cinquains!

Laurie Kolp said...

I'm all pootered out, but will try tomorrow. Thanks!

hedgewitch said...

Had to try it--I am a form junkie, it's true--and I ha some scribbles--still this is definitely not as easy as you'd think. Thanks for the challenge, Kerry.

hedgewitch said...

*had* some scribbles. sigh.

Anonymous said...

I finally managed a mirror cinquain... fun but not necessarily easy - thanks for explaining these variations on the form

Jinksy said...

I'm all behind like the cow's tail, but as my latest lines are (hopefully) a Crown Cinquain, I've made it do for two linkies...