Chanso: Poetic Form

Today’s form is kind of cool, because it affords a bit of creativity. Let’s look at the chanso!

Chanso Poems

Chanso poems are adaptable to the needs of the poet. This French form consists of five or six stanzas with an envoy that is roughly half the size of a regular stanza. So what is a regular stanza?

That depends on what the poet decides. The main rules are that each line of the poem should have the same number of syllables, and each stanza should be uniform when it comes to length and rhyme scheme. Beyond that, the poet has final say.

So a chanso could consist of 5 tercets followed by a couplet written with an abc rhyme scheme for each line; or it could be 6 12-line stanzas with an intricate rhyme scheme that is halved to a 6-line envoy. For my example below, I went with simple quatrains.


Master Poetic Forms!

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Chanso Poem:

On the Forest Moon, by Robert Lee Brewer

“3PO! Come in, 3PO! 3PO! Where could he be?”
-Luke Skywalker

With all the things I have been through,
I thought it must be obvious–
the odds good you already knew–
like R2 I’ve grown mischievous

and abandoned Jedi and Sith
for a vacay with my Ewoks,
who love to hear me spin a myth
and always listen when I talk.

Not that I hate on Master Luke,
though I could do without that Han,
who’s quick to give a tough rebuke
every time things don’t go to plan.

It’s just I don’t like being shot
or getting pulled into pieces.
After all, I’m not a robot
when I’ve got telekinesis,

or at least, that’s what Ewoks think
as they sing “yub-yub” on their moon,
which was once on the very brink
of the Empire’s galactic doom.

So look and you’ll find me no more:
I’ll be the droid you’re looking for.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


Find more poetic posts here:

You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

6 thoughts on “Chanso: Poetic Form

  1. taylor graham


    If I look past the moon, and chance
    to see a ragged ruff of sun
    beyond moon’s shadow – that sky-dance
    we call eclipse – sure it would stun

    me blind. Instead, I’ll watch our earth –
    flittering crescents of half-light,
    solar arcs that have their birth
    under leafy trees. What a sight

    of earth rejoicing with the sky.
    Oh, everything is circles, rings
    of light and dim. We question why
    and how the whole creation sings

    at once. Shall then we go about
    our business? Twilight at midday
    caused ancient man such fearful doubt
    as if eclipse meant judgment-day.

    I’ll keep my eyes on earth and see
    what’s given on the giving ground:
    those crescents waving like the sea
    in a wavering dancing round.

    And if the birds should sing along,
    shall I, too, join the wordless song?

  2. Anthony94

    Taylor, loved the rhyme scheme and the way you artfully end lines and yet go one to match the end rhyme in the new one! I love these types of places, /where honeysuckle binds each gap/ and have spent hours identifying willows too! Great way to start my day and admirable use of form and prompt in my opinion.

  3. taylor graham


    Come along, down the forest trail.
    Along the pond’s the way to go,
    Raven will tell a treetop tale
    to pry the lid off what we know!

    Past the meadow, look! the green woods
    all are blooming white and yellow.
    Forget your shouldn’ts and your should’s.
    Count how many kinds of willow!

    Let’s step inside a house of bark
    where honeysuckle binds each gap
    and sun shines through. It isn’t dark
    here, in a tepee’s earthen lap.

    Just weave a basket of your mind.
    Hear that soft tap tap? Listen well.
    Is it a Morse code in the blind?
    or the woodpecker’s springtime spell?

    Draw a new picture in your brain
    so wondrous, it must be your own –
    dancing with words surprising, plain,
    and true as ancient granite stone.

    When unseen birds take wing to roam,
    you’ll take this meadow with you home.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.