Looking for: Short forms of poetry


As many of you know, I enjoy experimenting with various forms of poetry and have recently been focusing on short forms because of the goal that I set for myself at the beginning of this calendar year. I post #APoemADay on my Twitter account so those daily poems must be short.

Even more recently, I decided to get ahead in my challenge and write a lot of poems far in advance of my posting them to Twitter. Perhaps because I have been writing so many short poems in such a short period of time, I started composing them as [weekly] series of seven by form.

Initially, this was an arbitrary decision, but I’ve since come to enjoy my new strategy because it seems to lend itself to a deeper exploration of every form I employ. It’s particularly interesting to reflect upon how forms shape my thinking both before and while I write; and it’s also fascinating to read them afterwards – to feel the final results as a reader.

Admittedly, some of the forms I’ve discovered feel arbitrary to me. For example, I just now completed a series of landai, which are two-line poems (songs, actually) that come to us from Afghanistan. I’m certain that they must sound very compelling when composed and sung in Pashto, but penning them in English feels less than natural to me… and what am I accomplishing by adhering to the syllable count, especially if I’m not writing them to be performed as intended?

That is not to say, however, that the process of creation isn’t enjoyable for me – even when I discover that a certain form isn’t much to my liking, it’s always fun to play with words and meanings. Besides, how can I know whether or not a form pleases me without trying my hand at it?

What I would like to do now is to list the short forms of poetry that I have worked with and completed mini-series of. There aren’t too many of them, really… but I am looking for more. Do you, dear friends, know of short forms that aren’t on this list? While I know of some already, I’d like to get all the way through to the end of 2021 by dedicating every week that remains to me to a new form. Can you please help me out?

(please note that not all of the forms below have been posted to my Twitter account yet… some are in the queue, scheduled for future dates.)

Forms employed to date

49 thoughts on “Looking for: Short forms of poetry”

  1. Oddquain, dodoitsu, elfchen or elevenie, flamenca, hay(na)ku, imayo, jisei, katauta, monostitch, pantun, pantun dua kerat, quintella, reverse cinquain, reverse oddquain, senyrus, tanaga, tetractys, inverted tetractys, zappai, to name a few. Some other forms have no required number of stanza so theoretically they could be a single stanza…

  2. Hi Ben, I consider myself a connoisseur of short (and usually obscure) poetry forms, many which I have posted on my blog. Here are a baker’s dozen that might interest you:

    The American Sentence – 1 line
    The Rothko – 3 lines
    The Hay(na)ku – 3 lines
    The Two-by-Four – 4 lines
    The Monotetra – 4 lines (though usually chained thus longer)
    The Biolet – 6 lines
    The Kindku – 7 lines
    The Sonnette – 7 lines
    The Octo – 8 lines
    The Streetbeatina – 8 lines
    The Triolet – 8 lines
    The Enneao – 9 lines
    The Lux – 9 lines

    There are also the 26 Word Abecedarian and The Monosyllabic Sonnet (14 lines but only 14 syllables). If you want to know more about any of these, please let me know and I can send you a link to a post on my blog that will explain the rules and provide examples.

    Best, Wishes,


    1. Paul, this is AMAZING. THANK you! ๐Ÿค

      BTW, please feel free to call me ‘David’, which is my first name – the word ‘ben’ just means ‘son of’ in Hebrew.


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