Zeno is a recently invented form created by J. Patrick Lewis, and is inspired by the mathematical “hailstone sequence”. It is a 10-line verse form with a varying syllable count of 8,4,2,1,4,2,1,4,2,1. The rhyme scheme followed here is xxxaxxaxxa, x being unrhymed lines. So, only Line 4, Line 7 and Line 10 (the one syllable lines) rhyme.
When I discovered this form I was wondering why it was named ‘Zeno’ and not simply a ‘Hailstone’. Here’s Patrick’s own explaination on this :-
“I’ve invented what I had called a “hailstone,” after the mathematical “hailstone sequence.” It has nothing to do with Mary O’Neill’s Hailstones and Halibut Bones, but it would no doubt instantly be confused with it. Hence, “hailstone” is problematic. So I call the form a “zeno,” so named for Zeno, the philosopher of paradoxes, especially the dichotomy paradox, according to which getting anywhere involves first getting half way there and then again halfway there, and so on ad infinitum. I’m dividing each line in half of the previous one.”
Read more about the Hailstorm sequence here – Collatz conjecture and the Hailstorm sequence
Here’s a Zeno I wrote :-
Sound of the sun peeping over
Her graceful smile
will you walk with
unload the gloom
And with this we have reached the end of #napowrimo2021
Here’s the link to all my prompts for this year- NaPoWriMo2021
Ubi Sunt poems have come from the Latin phrase ‘ubi sunt’ meaning ‘where are they?’. This genre of verse is concerned with the subject matter and theme of the poem rather than the syntactic properties of a poem. The poems often revolve around passing of a person, an era, a season or basically anything held dear. So while writing an Ubi Sunt, don’t forget to add a pinch of nostalgia.
Here’s something I think I can call an Ubi Sunt poem
Like the southern breeze
You entered my life
Pinning down the doors of unexpectancy
Lighting the exhausted flames in me once
Kissing the broken chunks
Piece by piece
You put me back together
Like a jigsaw puzzle
Your smile, your laughter
Twas the sweet melody of my life
Your voice, danced in me
Like some angelic rhythm
Your eyes were the mystical art
Unfathomable, like an abstruse dream
The motion of your lips while you spoke
sparkled my mind with magic
How long has it been since I have seen you?
Been with you?
Days, months, years, centuries
have passed, haven’t they?
They do not hold significance
Time is relative in such wistful forms
I felt your spirit, your soul
Through the poetry that you spoke
Through the transcendental touch
It wasn’t all a dream, was it?
Oh! where is it all gone?
A quintilla is a Spanish quintain(five line stanza). It has 8 syllables in each line and employs an ab rhyme scheme with at least two lines of “a” rhyme and at least two lines of “b” rhyme. Also, no three consecutive lines may rhyme nor may the stanza end in a couplet. The most commonly used rhyme scheme in a Quintilla is abaab but other variations such as ababa, abbab, aabab and aabba are also used. A decastich, (2 quintillas) is also known as Copla Real.
Here’s my attempt at a Quintilla :-
Every syllable is a mold
words and desires already seen
by the living and all things cold
by the new world, and one that’s old
Every poem that is, it’s (already) been.
The Golden Shovel form was created by Award winning US poet Terrance Hayes in 2010. ‘The Golden Shovel’ is actually a poem in his book Lighthead written to honour one of the most highly regarded, influential, and widely read poets of 20th-century and Pulitzer Prize winner, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000). Terrance’s piece was based on Gwendolyn’s ‘We Real Cool‘.
Use the links to visit both these poems and see how it works.
The golden rule for the Golden Shovel poem is – Borrow a line (or multiple lines) from a poem (or the entire poem like the example above) you admire and use each of their words as the end-words in your poem. Make sure you keep them in order and make sure you credit the poet for the orignal line(s) of the base poem. The new poem doesn’t necessarily have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.
Here’s my example :-
I am using the line “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” from William Butler Yeats’, ‘Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven‘
This pulp of desire I tread
whispers to me softly
Don’t open your eyes yet, because
this joy of cinching her, you
may never again tread.
These rainbow soaked shadows shall live on
And none shall fathom the depths of my
Flamenca (also known as Seguidilla Gitana or Sequiriya) carries a fast staccato rhythm. This spanish poetry form is a quintain (5-line stanza). There can be any number of stanzas in a Flamenca.
The syllabic structure is 6-6-5-6-6 . These syllable count per line imitate the rapid click of the heels of a flamenco dancer. Lines 2 and 5 assonate(same vowel sounds). Modern versions of this form often just simply rhyme lines two and five.
Here’s my attempt at a flamenca :-
April my dear retreat
How you enter my home
The smell of the earth
the sun, sweltering hot
fertile dreams of my loam.
Loins of a berry tree
lying on the bare sand
The harsh beauty of
a barren loneliness
taking over the land
The Echo poem or Echo verse is an interesting form of poetry. We just have to follow a simple rule that the end syllable(s) of each of the lines have to be repeated in the same line. Sometimes a near rhyme works too.
There are two ways to structure an Echo verse: Repeat the ending syllable(s) at the end of the same line or repeat the ending syllable(s) on its own line directly beneath each line. We can take a one line example for both the structures-
Do you know? No
Do you know?
Here’s my attempt at an Echo Poem (from April 2020) :-
Every inch of the hills, thrills
I walk, I cover, recover
All of me that was lost, cost
of a life so wasted, hasted.
Do you know? No
That when I open my arms, farms
that regrow the stems of my soul, whole,
talk to me with brisky breezes, appeases
in these creeky syllables of life,rife
And now I know your worth, earth.
Let’s move on to ‘B for Barzeletta’ (also known as the barzelletta or frottola-barzelletta), an Italian form with a number of different interpretations.
According to Lewis Turco, (from his book- ‘The New Book of Forms’) a barzeletta has
- a Couplet (or two-line) stanzas or poems
- Seven-syllable lines
- Internal rhymes
- A lot of “aphorisms, witticisms, and didacticisms”
Some of the sources on Barzeletta indicate that this form was actually adapted from an Italian music form. This version has eight syllables each line and follows an abba rhyme scheme. This is the variant I have tried below:-
For a jump mightier than a fall
Let thy boldness be a dear cost
Tis better to be drunk and lost
than to never been drunk at all.
There is probably nothing too special about this poem but i believe it is a fairly good blend of “aphorisms, witticisms, and didacticisms“. You can guess what famous quotes and sayings I have used in this and leave it in the comments. I will make this a little more easy by leaving the quoter’s names here- Shakespeare, Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Arthur Hugh Clough.
Last year I did a Ballad for this day. You can check it out here- B for Ballad
It is that time of the year again. April 2021 has come to our shores and it is time to pick up our pens and toil our way (or have fun) through this month.
I will be doing 26 different forms of poetry (A to Z) from April 1 to April 30. I will be extensively researching these forms of poetry and putting them out here along with my attempts at them.
Here is the schedule for NaPoWriMo 2021 ( *Updated*- Here’s the link for all these Poetry forms :- NaPoWriMo 2021 )
Apr 1 – Alphabet Poetry
Apr 2 – Barzeletta
Apr 3 – Cascade Poem
Apr 4 – Sunday
Apr 5 – Decima
Apr 6 – Echo Poem
Apr 7 – Flamenca
Apr 8 – Golden Shovel
Apr 9 – Haiku
Apr 10 – Imayo
Apr 11- Sunday
Apr 12 – John Tee Sonnet
Apr 13 – Kwansaba
Apr 14 – Lai
Apr 15 – Mondo
Apr 16 – Nonet
Apr 17 – Ottawa Rima
Apr 18 – Sunday
Apr 19 – Palindrome
Apr 20 – Quintilla
Apr 21 – Rime Couee
Apr 22 – Senryu
Apr 23 – Tautogram
Apr 24 – Ubi Sunt
Apr 25 – Sunday
Apr 26 – Villanelle
Apr 27 – Waka
Apr 28 – Xiaoshi
Apr 29 – Ya-Du Poetry
Apr 30 – Zeno
There could be a few changes in this proposed schedule (In case I am unable to write a certain form, I might switch to another)
I have already tried some of these poetry forms before. I had opted for a few of these in NaPoWriMo 2020 but I am trying to take on some new challenges as well and have some fun in the process. In my experience, learning these poetry forms and trying to write within a set of rules really challenges you and ultimately helps you improve as a writer.
*Updated*- Here’s the link for all these Poetry forms :- NaPoWriMo 2021
The nonet poetic form is simple. It’s a 9-line poem that has 9 syllables in the first line, 8 syllables in the second line, 7 syllables in the third line, and continues to count down to one syllable in the final (ninth) line.
Here is my example:
I see the truth has been washed ashore
Lifeless like the sand it lays in
draped in dirt it has rolled in
hoping to be picked up,
be saved by the sun
And with a smirk,
the lie stands
‘Jisei-no-ku’ is another Japanese poetry form. It is a death poem, called jisei or jisei-no-ku or zetsumei-shi in Japanese. It is a poem written near the time of one’s own death. It was a tradition for literate people to write one in a number of different cultures, especially in Japan and Joseon Korea, as well as in certain periods of Chinese history.
Also, the Japanese warrior class (samurai) had a tradition of writing death poems specifically termed as ‘Jisei-no-ku’, often before committing ritual suicide to expiate some breach of honour.
There are no strucutural rules as such since these poems can be written under variety of poetic structures including Haiku and Tanka(5-7-5-7-7 syllablic structure).
Here’s my ‘Jisei-no-ku’ (Hopefully nobody gets to say ‘The timing of the poem was perfect’) :
Higher and higher she flew
The last gasp of the wings
All soaring things must fall
Even the clouds and stars
Only a sky of memories remains.
Let’s look at one of Matsuo Bashō‘s poem which had been recorded by his disciple Takarai Kikaku as his last poem during his final illness (Source- Wikipedia). This piece is generally accepted as his poem of farewell:
Tabi ni yande
yume wa kareno o
Falling ill on a journey
my dreams go wandering
over withered fields.