• The Taylor is an invented form, patterned from Upon a Spider Catching a Fly by Edward Taylor (1642-1729) who some call the finest colonial poet although his work was not published until 1939. A puritan poet, his poems are lyrical and yet reflect a staunch Calvinist tone.

The Taylor is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains.
○ metric, iambic, L1 trimeter, L2 and L4 dimeter, L3 tetrameter, L5 monometer.
○ rhymed or at least near rhymed ababb cdcdd efeff etc.

Upon a Spider Catching a Fly by Edward Taylor

Thou sorrow, venom elf.
Is this thy play,
To spin a web out of thyself
To catch a fly?
For why?

I saw a pettish wasp
Fall foul therein,
Whom yet thy whorl pins did not clasp
Lest he should fling
His sting.

But as afraid, remote
Didst stand here at
And with thy little fingers stroke
And gently tap
His back.

Thus gently him didst treat
Lest he should pet,
And in a froppish waspish heat
Should greatly fret
Thy net.

Whereas the silly fly,
Caught by its leg,
Thou by the throat took’st hastily
And ‘hind the head
Bite dead.

This goes to pot, that not
Nature doth call.
Strive not above what strength hath got
Lest in the brawl
Thou fall.

This fray seems thus to us:
Hell’s spider gets
His entrails spun to whipcords’ thus,
And wove to nets
And sets,

To tangle Adam’s race
In’s stratagems
To their destructions, spoiled, made base
By venom things,
Damned sins.

But mighty, gracious Lord,
Thy grace to break the cord; afford
Us glory’s gate
And state.

We’ll Nightingale sing like,
When perched on high
In glory’s cage, Thy glory, bright,
And thankfully,
For joy.

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Taylor

Broken Names

I have a friend named Jack,
his brother’s Al.
Their mother wants her old name back
to boost locale

Since Ackbarr’s now her name
she thinks it’s broken,
perverted by the Islam game
when it’s a token

One can’t now yell, “Hi, Jack”
most any where
nor “Allen Ackbarr, glad you’re back!
You been somewhere
by air?”

© Lawrencealot – January 26, 2015

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Tawddgyrch Cadwynog

Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Stanzaic

Description: (TOWDD-girch ca-DOY-nog) This is a Welsh line form consisting of three to five sections of tetrasyllabic verse with abbc or abba rhyme that continues into the next line.

Origin: Welsh


xxxa xxxb xxxb xxxc
xxxa xxxb xxxb xxxc


xxxa xxxb xxxb xxxa
xxxa xxxb xxxb xxxa

The scheme follows through at least two lines, then can change.

Pasted from Poetry Base/Poetry Gnosis, with thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful resource.

This form consists of stanzas of usually four, lines, of four syllables: A. B. B. A.

Like the Rhupunt, it is common to join the lines together and end up with the two stanzas making a couplet.

X X X A X X X B X X X B X X X A.

X X X A X X X B X X X B X X X A.

In subsequent stanzas the rhyme may change, but not the pattern, C. D.D. C. and so on.

Pasted from The Poets Garret, with thanks to John Clitheroe for his work on the site.

My Example

Form: Tawddgyrch Cadwynog

A Variable Line Count Poem

To get it right
pen four by four
then add four more;
that’s how you write.

This form is tight
and furthermore
it is a chore
that does delight.

Two quatrains do
a couplet make;
and then you take
them up by two

(I know you knew),
for heaven’s sake
this takes the cake,
a brand new view.


To get it right pen four by four
then add four more; that’s how you write.
This form is tight and furthermore
it is a chore that does delight.

Two quatrains do a couplet make;
and then you take them up by two
(I know you knew), for heaven’s sake
this takes the cake, a brand new view.


To get it right pen four by four then add four more; that’s how you write.
This form is tight and furthermore it is a chore that does delight.
Two quatrains do a couplet make; and then you take them up by two
(I know you knew), for heaven’s sake this takes the cake, a brand new view.

© Lawrencealot – January 26, 2015


Tanka, 短歌 “short song” is meant to be filled with personal and emotional expression. The tanka expresses feelings and thoughts regardless of the direction they take. Originally there was also an attempt to connect these thoughts and feelings to nature. The tanka, unlike the haiku, may use figurative expressions such as metaphor or simile. The form is less rigid, more casual than the haiku. It allows the imagination to help the poet express feelings.

The tanka is a descendant of the waka, one of the earliest Japanese forms and dates back to the 8th century. The description of the waka and tanka are separated by a thin line, mostly time. However the tanka is defined more by content and style than syllabic prescription, still most tanka like its ancestor the waka are confined by 31 onji or syllables and broken into 5 lines of 5-7-5-7-7.

Members of the royal court were expected to write tanka and it was often exchanged as communication, including being passed as love notes. It became the concluding stanza of the communal linked Renga. Classic Japanese Tanka were collected in anthologies that were sponsored by members of the royal court. One of the most prominent writers of the 9th century was a woman, Ono no Komachi, still admired for her work. When a tanka is satirical it is sometimes referred to as a kyoka or “crazy poem”.  

The form addressed themes as natural beauty, love, the impermanence of life, the activities of the common people and separation. “To be touched by things” “mono no aware” is an important idea in tanka writing as well as the later developed Haiku. A Tanka String is a group of tankas written around the same theme and strung together in no particular order.

The elements of the tanka are:

  1. syllabic, 31 or less syllables, most commonly 5-7-5-7-7, in variation the lines are best kept with odd numbered syllables.
  2. normally but not always a 5 line poem, the 5 line pattern however does seem to prevail.
  3. defined by content and style more than the syllabic prescription. But there is still a pattern of short and long lines rather than a metered equal length.
  4. written as a personal or emotional expression of themes such as natural beauty, love, the impermanence of life, the activities of the common people
  5. composed with the priority of “to be touched by things” “mono no aware” and use of concrete images.

I wait for you

Oh! With tender passion

As in my house

The bamboo blinds stir

Blown by autumn wind

—Princess Nukada (7th century)

 See how the blossoms

That are falling about me

Fade after long rain

While, quietly as in prayer,

I have gazed my life away.

— Ono no Komachi (9th century)


I shut my eyes

But nothing whatsoever

Surfaces in my mind

In my utter loneliness

I open them up again

—Takuboku (19th century)


chill of soundless night

without your breath near my ear

pillow untended

lies on cold and empty bed

waits for heat of your return. . .

— Judi Van Gorder


Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Tanka


we met, teased, became attached
we were connected
the physical meeting
was merely confirmation

© Lawrencealot – January 26, 2015

Tan Renga

North America’s answer to the Japanese linked form Renku or Renga is to shorten the pattern and involve fewer poets. And even though they adopt the 5-7-5 7-7 syllabic patterns of the Japanese form, they often reduce the number of syllables and sometimes number of lines. The American versions do not “link and shift” like the Japanese but are usually built around a theme. Nor do they require an introductory hokku with setting and season and other such elements common in the Renga.

The Tan Renga is:
○ a poem in 5 lines, made up of a tercet followed by a couplet.
○ a cooperative poem. One poet writes the tercet, the 2nd poet writes the couplet.
○ syllabic, 5-7-5, syllables per line or 17 syllables or less created image. The 2nd link is 7-7 syllables per line or 14 syllables or less.
○ composed with the couplet drawing a mood from the image of the tercet a kind of statement – response scenario.

the phone rings
a vendor mispronounces
my name
no offer sounds so sweet
as a friend calling your name

(I am sorry, I found this in my notes but I don’t know who wrote it. I include it here because it is such a perfect example of the form and I love the verse. If anyone reading this recognizes it and knows the name of the poet, please let me know so I can give the author credit.)

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

Not having a collaborator on hand at the time, I shall simply leave you with the fine and sufficient description that Judi has provided.


The Takhmis or Long-measure Verse is the 19th century Swahili version of a devotional Arabic stanzaic form of the same name. The Arabic Takhmis (to make five) dates back to the 18th century. In the Arabic form, L1-L3 of the stanza made up of 5 single hemistiches serves as a comtemporary expansion of L4-L5 which is verse written by an earlier poet, similar to the Glosa. The Swahili version appears to double up the hemistiches and most often is written by a single poet.

• The Arabic Takhmis is:
○ lyrical devotion.
○ stanzaic, written in 5 single hemistiches with the last 2 hemistiches adapted from earlier work of another poet,
○ rhyme scheme aaaax bbbbx x being unrhymed.

• The Swahili Takhmis is:
○ either a narrative or a lyrical medition.
○ stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains
○ syllabic, with at least 15 syllables, the line should be in 2 hemistiches and all lines should be approximately the same length.
○ rhymed, aaax bbbx cccx etc. NPEOPP

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

This is not a poem form that I personally have any interest in composing, so I merely leave you with Judi’s fine and sufficient documentation.

Seven-Eleven Couplet Rhyme

Seven-Eleven, the defining features are:
• stanzaic, any number of couplets.
• syllabic, mixed or irregular 7 and 11 syllabic line. 7-7 7-11 11-11 11-7 etc or 7-11 7-7 11-7 11-7 11-11 or whatever combination at the discretion of the poet. (although L6 and if there is a L11 are always 11 syllables.)
• rhymed, consonant-full rhyme

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Form: Seven-Eleven Couplet Rhyme


Now, I put myself to bed
couplets kicking in my head.

Tried to think during the day;
things to do got in my way.

Sleep connects me to a tool.
It is a universal consciousness pool.

Every thought of every man
exists out there and you can

with a little bit of luck,
tune to Robert Frost or Buk

Can’t promise you’ll connect, but I think you will.
Assembling those thoughts take skill.

© Lawrencealot – January 23, 2015


• Serena has 2 definitions:
○ Serena(Occitan-serene song) is a song of the troubadours that appeared late in Provencal lyrical poetry and is the counterpart of the Alba. It builds around the theme of waiting for nightfall. Specifically a lover waiting to consummate his love, such circumstance would not communicate “serene” to me. The frame is at the discretion of the poet.
○ The Serena is also a modern day invented form created by Edith Thompson and found in Pathway for the Poet by Viola Berg. It uses head and tail rhyme.

The invented Serena from Pathways … is:
§ a poem in 11 lines.
§ syllabic, L1,L9,L11 are 4 syllables each. L2 & L10 are 3 syllables each and L3 thru L8 are 7 sylables each.
§ head and tail rhymed, the head rhyme is AAbbccddAAx and the tail rhyme is ABcxccddABb, x being unrhymed.
§ composed with a refrain, L1 & L2 are repeated as L9 & L10.

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My effort here will deal with the specific invented form.

My Example

Form: Serena

What’s the Doubt About

Rhyme is sublime
I’m assured,
heard as accent to a beat.
Word is that excess is not
neat; it ought be a discrete
treat or aim may meet defeat.
Bawdy rhyme one might applaud,
flawed or not so help me God.
Rhyme is sublime
I’m assured.
The truth’s obscured.

© Lawrencealot – January 22, 2015

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Senryu is a Japanese syllabic verse that deals primarily with human nature and is often expressed through humor. It developed in the 18th century and is named after Karai Senryu who was a judge of comic verse contests. They were originally poems of the merchant class and often made fun of corrupt officials and professionals.

The official’s child—
How well he learns to open
and close his fist!
———- —anonymous

The focus of the modern Senryu can be just about anything as long as it has a human or humorous slant. Senryus are lively, often humorous and sometimes even vulgar.
The main characteristics of the Senryu are energy or liveliness in the focus and choice of words, humor as revealed in human nature and use of subjects such as relationships, family, professions, children and pets. It is written in the same frame as the haiku, 17 syllables or less, 2 units of imagary and 1 unit of enlightenment.

So if you are wondering if a 3 line, 17 syllable poem is Haiku or Senryu, you can pretty much place the serious poem in the Haiku column and the more human, humorous poems as the Senryu. (but there are humorous Haiku and serious Senryu, go figure..)

The Senryu is:
• a poem in 3 lines or less.
• syllabic, 17 syllables or less.
• commonly written in 3 lines but can be written in 2 lines and can be written with fewer syllables, never more.
○ L1 5 syllables describes image.
○ L2 7 syllables, adds conflicting image or expands first image
○ L3 5 syllables provides insight (the ah ha! moment)through a juxtaposed image.
• written as a natural human experience in language that is simple, humorous, sometimes bawdy or vulgar.
• presented with an energy or liveliness in the focus and choice of words
• often humorous
• written in the moment.
• an imagist poem (draws the humor from the image)
• untitled but can be #ed.

Some of my own senryu: —Judi Van Gorder

small child ignores call,
parent warns and begins count,
“Daddy, don’t say fwee.”

some roads meander
others flat out ask for speed
don’t forget your map

fire ignites within
flame mushrooms to the surface
autumn days

pelican’s head bobs
beak bulging with trigger fish,
shore’s stand-up comic

Pasted from Poetry Magnum Opus, with thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource

My Example

Form: Senryu

dumpster diver digs
begs for change upon the street
lives a tax-free life

(c) Lawrencealot


Type: Line, Appendages
Description: An Adonic is a two foot line: Xxx XX or maybe Xxx Xx. It depends on the expert one consults. It is more often found as a tagline on the end of a stanza than as separate stanzas.
Origin: Greek
Schematic:  Xxx XX or Xxx Xx
Line/Poem Length: 5

Pasted from http://www.poetrybase.info/forms/000/4.shtml
with thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his years of work on the wonderful Poetrybase resource.

This is Greek and classical, why not begin at the beginning.  An Adonic poem is one without rhyme, with just five syllables per line and a specific meter, or syllable arrangement.  We’re at the beginning so lets talk about that first.

When you say the word trouser you say it in a certain way, TROUSer.  There are two syllables and the first one is pronounced more clearly and for longer than the second syllable.  The first syllable is stressed and the second unstressed.  Put in different terms the word present can be done either way.  I have bought you a PREsent, would see the first syllable stressed and the second left unstressed.  I would like you to preSENT this to the group, puts the stress on the second syllable.  The meter of a poem, even more than the rhyme can carry it and give it a song-like rhythm so it is important to learn the specific ones for each form.

Back to ancient Greece.  This poem has a meter like this: stress-unstress-unstress-stress-stress, but the final one can also be unstressed.  We can express it from now on like this /uu//, where / is a stress and u is unstressed.  For instance the wordmicrowave would fit into the beginning of the line, and coffee to the end.  Microwave-coffee (this is what you’ll have to do if you forgot your coffee whilst writing poems).  Not a great poem yet but play around with the syllables until you’ve got it.  At least there’s no rhyme to confuse issues.  Read about meter and feet here, but really we’ll build on it as we go.  There’s another good website here.  The feet, or collections of meter and stresses represented here are called a Dactyl and Trochee.

Wiki tells me this poem originates from laments for Adonis, so write your own lament for your departed Adonis.  Although mine is about my baby niece who is at the moment over-enthusiastic about everyone’s

Christmas candy.
Chewing sweets today
Your few teeth work hard
you swallow too soon
gasping for your breath
So I try to help
Patting on your back
Until you giggle
and rummage for more.

You can see, this kind of meter restraint doesn’t do a lot for me, but short lines and no rhyme certainly makes for easy writing, and if you end up with a nice short-line poem you can tweak the meter afterwards.


Our Poetic Asides inaugural Poet Laureate, Sara Diane Doyle, has been busy-busy-busy this summer working with teen writers. But not too busy to share with her fellow Poetic Asides crew a new poetic form she developed with one of her students, David Edwards. Since Sara knows the form best, I’ll let her explain the form to you in her own words.
A few months ago I began exploring various poetic forms. With each form I tried, I would post my attempt on a forum for teen writers, where I am a mentor. One of the teens, David Edwards, got interested in forms, especially the “created” forms. He asked if anyone could invent a form and I said “sure!” Then, he got the crazy idea that we should create a form together.
To start, we wanted to throw in every poetic element that we really liked. David came up with the meter and feet and I added in the repeating line. We came up with the rhyme scheme and length together. The result is a form we call the Roundabout. In this form, the rhyme scheme comes full circle while offering repetition of one line in each rhyme set. 
The Roundabout is a four stanza poem, with each stanza consisting of 5 lines. The poem is written in iambic and the lines have 4 feet, 3 feet, 2 feet, 2 feet and 3 feet respectively. The rhyme scheme is abccb/bcddc/cdaad/dabba. Roundabouts can be on any subject. 
Several of the writers on our forum have written Roundabouts and have had a blast.” We would love for other poets to give it a try! Here are some examples to get you started.
by David Edwards
Around around the carousel
across the circles face
we cry we shout
we crash about
across the circles face
and ever always breakneck pace
by this unending route
and twists and turns
and breaks and burns
by this unending route
of ever always in and out
the yearling quickly learns
to run and yell
at ocean’s swell
the yearling quickly learns
to run and leap and then he earns
but he will never tell
there’s not a chase
that wins the race
but he will never tell.
When Spring Trips ‘Round
by Sara Diane Doyle
When wildflowers bloom once more
and raindrops touch the earth,
the faeries come
to start the hum
and raindrops touch the earth!
Come join the song, the dance the mirth!
Enjoy the juicy plum.
beneath the sun
’til day is done-
enjoy the juicy plum!
The clouds let out the beating drum-
rejoice with us as one.
Our joy we pour
for pain we bore-
rejoice with us as one.
Of gleeful hope, the snow knows none,
but speaks of faeries lore,
of magic birth,
the greatest worth
but speaks of faeries lore.

Pasted from http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poetry-craft-tips/new-poetic-form-the-roundabout
My Thanks to Poetic-Asides.

Specifications restated:
Roundabout is:
A 20 line poem, attributed to David Edwards
Stanzaic: Consisting of 4 five-line stanza
Metered: Iambic with feet of 4/3/2/2/3 per line
Rhyme Scheme: aBccB bCddC cDaaD dAbbA
Refrain: L2 is repeated as L5 in each stanza

My example


Roundabout (Roundabout)

The driver thought he’d save some time.
although the sign said no.
he’d always say
he knew the way
although the sign said no.

His load was long but even so
’twas shorter this-a-way.
He drove enough
and knew his stuff —
’twas shorter this-a-way.

He shrugged and said “I’ll be okay”,
he put the truck in gear.
He took his time
and did the crime;
he put the truck in gear.

Half through the loop, he could not clear;
it cost him many dime
to learn what’s so;
when he could go
it cost him many dime.

© Lawrencealot – January 20, 2015

Photo credit: taken by poet.

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