What is a Cinquain?

Cinquain Defintion, Forms, Poem Examples

Definition of Cinquain

Cinquain can be defined as,

“Any short poem consisting of five, usually unrhymed lines containing, respectively, two, four, six, eight, and two syllables.”

History and Origin

The cinquain form was invented by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey, while the inspiration for the development of this poetry form has been drawn from the Japanese haiku and tanka.

Her famous collection of poetry, Verse, published in 1915 consists of 18 Cinquain poems. Carl Sandburg and Louis Utermeyer are some other notable poets who have utilized this form in their poetry.

Pattern of Cinquain Poems

Line1: Two syllables

Line2: Four syllables

Line 3: Six syllables

Line 4: Eight syllables

Line 5: Two syllables

Forms of Cinquain

Crapsey Cinquain

Crapsey cinquains utilize an increasing syllable count in the first four lines, namely two in the first, four in the second, six in the third, and eight in the fourth, and then two syllables again in the last line.

Each line in the majority of Crapsey cinquains consists of a fixed number of stressed syllables, following the pattern 1,2,34,1.

Variations of Crapsey Cinquain

Reverse Cinquain: This form consists of one 5-line stanza in a syllabic pattern of two, eight, six, four, two.

Mirror Cinquain: This form has two 5-line stanzas consisting of a cinquain followed by a reverse cinquain.

Butterfly Cinquain: This  is a nine-line syllabic form with the pattern two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.

Crown Cinquain: This is a sequence of five cinquain stanzas functioning to construct one larger poem.

Garland Cinquain: This is a series of six cinquains in which the last one is formed of lines from the preceding five, typically line one from stanza one, line two from stanza two, and so on.

Didactic Cinquain

The didactic cinquain is  closely related to the Crapsey cinquain and  is an informal kind of cinquain which is widely taught in elementary schools.

Writing Cinquain Poems

To write cinquain poems, you need to master the requirements for each line. Follow the steps below to write your own cinquain poem:

First Line: Decide on one word title which is  a noun. (1)

Second Line: Add two words, describing your title. These would be adjectives. (2)

Third Line: Select three words that tell you something that the title can do (verb). (3)

Fourth Line: Add a four word phrase that describes a feeling about your title. (4)

Fifth Line: Think of one word that refers back to your title (synonym). (1)

Examples of Famous Cinquain Poems

Eel

Greasy, long

Winding, swimming, moving

An eel is strange.

Fish

-Eel by Miki

Dove

Active, free

Flying, sitting, crying

A dove is free.

Bird

-Dove by Min

  • http://www.google.com I dont wanna write my name

    Can you make more examples.

  • imara

    What about a limerick examples: There once was a girl named jill , who was scared by the sight of a drill, so she brushed her teeth everyday, so her dentist would probably say , your teeth are great no bill