Verse forms–of which haiku is one. I mentioned earlier this month that I’d found a whole list of Japanese verse forms: it’s not just haiku.


First let me do today’s haiku, which sprang almost immediately into my brain as I saw KL Caley’s lovely picture prompt on Thursday. She publishes the #writephoto prompt on New2Writing at midday UK time each Thursday.

The secret in the stone
A crozier, held
Next Arthur's sword in the stone.
Who will bring the key?

© J M Pett 2021

Japanese Verse forms: a very quick summary

If you enter ‘Japanese Verse Forms’ in Google (or other search engine of your choice), you will get a pretty good variety of places to find out more. and both list ’10 common forms’. Wikipedia gives a good overview – wikipedia is my friend, and I donate some money once a year, because I think it’s worth its weight in gold.

I’m just going to list a few from Wikipedia:

Haiku – as you know it’s a 5-7-5 syllable (Jap: on or morae) poem – one line in Japanese, three lines in other languages (I didn’t know that). This is described as the ‘typical form’. Other ideas include two images of ideas with a ‘cutting word’ between them; also seasonal references. I’m pleased that ‘Many haiku are objective in their depiction of personal experiences’ so I might be on the right track, after all.

Tanka – there is a tanka meme around, but I didn’t know what it was. These are five line poems with a 5–7–5–7–7 metre. Wikipedia says ‘written in Japanese’ but gaining popularity in other languages. Tanka are a subset of Waka, along with kanshi, which are described as Japanese language Chinese poetry.

Renga, Renku and Uta-awase – are forms of collaborative verse. Renga start with some lines from the ‘honoured guest’ followed by a stanza from the ‘host’. It can continue with either more guests between the host or just one guest returning. Uta-awase is a gathering of poets to create collaborative verse!

I hope you found that interesting: of course Japanese poetry is an art form taking many years to study. But I might have a look at that tanka meme now I know what it is!



I passed the 80% mark on Saturday evening, which gives me hope I might meet my target. After I wrote the main crisis on Friday, I became very upset. I tend to avoid putting my characters through too many nastinesses. Later I wondered if I had enough story to complete the target, but given I’m only just writing the occupation episode after which they are going to Rise Up (see last Wednesday), there’s a lot to tie up yet.

But I’m at the stage where I’m living in my writing world, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I think of really good paragraphs, and have to rush and write them down before they disappear into the mist. I might even get the last 15k written in five days.

V is for Verse Forms #writephoto #AtoZChallenge2021
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5 thoughts on “V is for Verse Forms #writephoto #AtoZChallenge2021

  • 26 April, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Wow 15k in 5 days, that’s a challenge! Thank you so much for joining in. KL <3

    • 26 April, 2021 at 11:13 am

      Yes. I could slide in a 5k short story that I want to pull to pieces as the final chapter, or even epilogue. But not yet!

  • 27 April, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    I like your verse Jemima , we had similar thoughts this week. 💜


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