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Poetry Competitions UK
14 Jun 2011

How to Write a Cinquain

Formed by American poet Adelaide Crapsey around 1909-1910, Cinquains are a form of English Haiku.

Its form is twenty-two syllables over five lines distributed 2,4,6,8,2. The first line will be used to name the subject; line two will describe this subject; the third line will be three action words; line four is a phrase describing the subject, though not in a complete sentence; finally the fifth line will sum up the poem with some impact.


These be (2)
Three silent things; (4)
The falling snow . . . the hour (6)
Before the dawn . . . the mouth of one (8)
Just dead. (2)

If you have mastered the Cinquain, then please try our advanced Cinquain writing workshops, which explore several other adaptations on the traditional form.

Once you've written your poem, why not send it to us to be entered into our competition - You can send via post to: Forward Poetry, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Peterborough PE2 9BF, or email it to inbox@forwardpoetry.co.uk.

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