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Cinquain variations

Following up on yesterday's post about how to write a cinquain, here are several variations. Actually, only the first is a true variation - the rest are combinations.

The reverse cinquain

Still five lines, only the syllable/stress counts are reversed. So instead of 2-4-6-8-2, you'd have 2-8-6-4-2 (with stressed syllable counts of 1-4-3-2-1). For the remainder of the post, I'll be using the more common syllable count model, but one should note that a monosyllabic foot in the first or last line is allowable, as is (one presumes) the occasional monosyllable in the other lines.

The mirror cinquain

A regular cinquain (2-4-6-8-2) followed by a reverse cinquain (2-8-6-4-2). Below is a gorgeous example from Amaze, an online cinquain journal, which is a haiga, where poetry and art are integrated as one (a popular form with haiku). The poem is copyrighted by its author, Naia. See how pretty the text looks as it spreads out and back? (And the image is swoony good, too.)

The butterfly cinquain

Very similar to to the mirror cinquain, this is basically a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain, but this one cheats just a little by omitting a two-syllable line where the two cinquains join, resulting in a poem of only nine lines, instead of the double cinquain total of 10. Below is a lovely example by a poet named Leona Atkinson, who blogs at Leona's Lines: Poetry Plus. I found her by googling "butterfly cinquain", and she has several especially good ones. This one is entitled "Focus".

Photo and poem copyright 2016 by Leona Atkinson. Shared with her permission.

The crown and garland cinquains

Similar to the idea of a crown or corona of sonnets, only shorter. A crown cinquain is a sequence of five cinquains that form one longer poem. Each cinquain is a stanza in a five-stanza poem.

A garland cinquain, like a crown cinquain, is a multi-stanza poem, but it consists of six stanzas. The first five are as in a crown cinquain; the final stanza is compose of lines from the prior stanza: Line 1 from Stanza 1, Line 2 from Stanza 2, etc.

Were I writing such a thing, I'd likely begin as follows, at least starting out (so as not to have to essentially hold two poems in one's head all along):

  1. Set up six cinquains down the page using only numbers to show lines.
  2. Write the sixth stanza first
  3. Go back up the page and plug those lines in (line 1 of stanza six is line 1 of stanza 1; line 2 of stanza six is line 2 of stanza 2; etc.)
  4. Compose the rest of the cinquains/stanzas, tweaking the pasted lines as needed (in both places)

Talk about a truly flexible form!

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
TS Davis
Apr. 28th, 2016 05:42 pm (UTC)
It's all in the stressing. Or, not stressing.
I am squeezing that poem about the dandelion to myself, hard.
Apr. 28th, 2016 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: It's all in the stressing. Or, not stressing.
I really loved both sample poems today, and Leona Atkinson, who wrote the second one, has several of them at her blog, each of them gorgeous.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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