Writing Exercise - the cinquain

Saturday, 16 May 2015

As some of you may be aware, I’m currently compiling an anthology of poetry, Coming Together: In Verse.  The call for submissions is listed here: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

For those of you wanting to submit, but lacking inspiration or ideas, below you’ll find one of the poetry writing exercises I’ve previously shared on the blog for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association (http://erotica-readers.blogspot.co.uk). I'm going to try and share them here on a weekly basis until we reach the deadline date.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I’m teaching creative writing, I tend to return to poetry exercises. Writing to the restraints of a strict poetic form requires a degree of mental discipline. Limited numbers of syllables, or the need for rephrasing to meet the demands of a rhyme scheme, often encourages writers to think about words in ways that aren’t familiar to those who focus solely on prose writing.

Which is my way of saying that I’ve got another poetry assignment for those brave enough to rise to the challenge. This month I thought we could look at the cinquain.

The cinquain is a five line poetic form that can be attempted in one of two ways. The traditional form is based on a syllable count as illustrated below.

line 1 - 2 syllables
line 2 - 4 syllables
line 3 - 6 syllables
line 4 - 8 syllables
line 5 - 2 syllables

Two lithe bodies
Press kisses together
Swift sigh moan shriek roar yes Yes YES!

For those who like to break away from tradition, the modern form of the cinquain is not dependent on such devices as counting syllables.

perfect, passionate
dancing, sleeping, dreaming,
yang to my yin

I strongly advocate exercises like this as the perfect way to preface any bout of writing. Athletes tell us we should never participate in sports without first doing some form of warm-up exercise. Musicians practice scales before performing. Doesn’t it make sense that a writer should practice their craft before teasing the right words onto the page?

If you do want to submit to the current anthology, information can be found on: http://ashleylisterauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/call-for-submissions-coming-together-in.html

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP