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"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Glossary of Poetic Forms

The following are poetic forms that have appeared in Shot Glass Journal.

A Japanese form consisting of two tankas between lovers. The form usually demands two authors, but it is possible to have a poet take on two personas. It can express romantic love as well as love between friends, siblings, parent and child, and so on. The first tanka should be a statement of love and the second a response to that statement.

A fusion between a sonnet and a form created by Kim Addonizio. The sonnenizio is 14 lines long. It opens with a line from someone else's sonnet, repeats a word from that line in each succeeding line of the poem, and closes with a rhymed couplet.

Poetic verse having a fixed number of syllables per line whether stressed or not.

Tanka consists of 31 onji sounds (or under). It is limited to 5 lines, with the traditional syllabic count usually being 5-7-5-7-7 onji. It is sometimes written in one line, but the more contemporary way of displaying Tanka is in 5 lines.

Tanka Prose
Prose that accompanies a tanka poem, similar to a Haibun which is a narrative that accompanies a haiku.

Tan Renga
Tan renga looks like a tanka and works like a renga. In tanka, the image developed in (approximately) a 5-7-5 three-line verse is contrasted to or augmented by a related image in the capping 7-7 two-line conclusion. The resulting juxtaposition produces more meaning than either part could by itself.

In tanka, both sections are written by the same person. In tan renga, the sections are usually written by different people.

Terza Rima
Traditional Italian poetry form. Three line stanza (tercet) using a interlinking chain rhyme. The second line of each tercet is the rhyme scheme for the first and third lines of the next tercet with a rhyme scheme of ABA, BCB, CDC.

Three cubed
The three cubed poetry form is a variation of the Triad poetry form. While the triad poem is composed of three stanzas of three lines or three tercets, the Three cubed adds another level in that the stanzas must have exactly three words. The Three cubed shows a rhyming pattern of aaa bbb ccc. However, unlike the Triad, the poem does not have to contain three things but can be about anything at all. The words can have more than one syllable so it is three words and NOT three syllables.

The Triolet has two rhymes and two repeated or refrain lines. The first line is repeated as the fourth, and seventh lines, the second and eighth lines are the same line. Repeated lines 1, 4, and 7 rhyme with lines 3 and 5. Repeated lines 2 and 8 rhyme with line 6.

The Tritina has no required meter, but whichever meter or syllable count you do choose, you should stick to it throughout the poem so you can maintain a good rhythm in your poem. The rhyme scheme is based on your selection of three words and follows the pattern of ABC CAB BCA with the final line using all three words to bring the order back to ABC

Zen Poetry
The traditional format was in four lines of Chinese characters (early Japanese poets also wrote in Chinese) but poetry changed over time to include Tanka, Haiku, and even much longer pieces. Many of most memorable were written in 8 lines such as the Hanshan (Cold Mountain) collection.

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