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 Poetfreak.com 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
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.