Minute Poem: Poetic Forms

Before we dive into the poetic form, I just wanted to remind folks about the upcoming poetry event in Hickory, North Carolina. I’ll be there, along with several more talented poets. Click here for more information.


Some forms have a long, exotic history. Some forms are relatively new, but have a well-known founder. Others just seem to spring out of nowhere. Such appears to be the case with our most recent poetic form: the minute poem.

The rules are rather simple:

  • 3 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas)
  • 8 syllables in the first line of each stanza
  • 4 syllables in the remaining lines of each stanza
  • rhyme scheme: aabb/ccdd/eeff
  • written in strict iambic meter

So each stanza contains 20 syllables times 3 stanzas equals 60 syllables total. Since there are 60 seconds in a minute, I’m going to go out on a limb and proclaim that’s the origin of the name minute poem.


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Here’s my attempt at a Minute Poem:

“Days of the Week”

Who knows what comes after Monday
besides Tuesday
who is never
awful clever.

Wednesday will often masquerade
as a parade
for the work week
as if unique.

So, of course, there is the weekend
when we begin
to start our work
or become jerks.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff.

He’s a big fan of learning (and trying) the vast variations of poetic forms available to poets, though he admits he didn’t pay close attention to the iambics in his poem above. If you want to show him some love, check out his collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Also, follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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29 thoughts on “Minute Poem: Poetic Forms

  1. ritareeact3

    The World

    By Rita Renee Weatherbee

    The world cast in bitter turmoil –
    Masses recoil
    Hatred astounds
    Bashing surrounds.

    The world spinning, lacking control,
    Trenching a hole
    Trash and berate.

    The world whispers for Divine Peace
    Loathing to cease
    Halt repugnance
    Love transcendence.

  2. Bushkill

    Minute poem

    A bird rests quick on wind worn rock
    Feet set, head cocked.
    To spy the cat,
    Sleek black and fast.

    Above the ground through deep blue skies
    White clouds go by.
    On Euros’ wings
    They dance and sing

    And I am left to ponder still
    Meaning deep, ill
    A painter’s view
    Of canvassed hue.

  3. Anthony94

    Late Summer Rise

    Like liquid teak the river flows,
    the wind that blows
    has stirred the silt
    as wavelets lilt

    Like tiny ships; their whitened sails
    dissolve, no trails
    remain, just dregs
    and splintered pegs

    Now cast ashore like packrat’s home
    Bare twigs can’t roam
    From shore to float;
    New anchored boats.

  4. Nurit Israeli

    A Minute — Filled with Questions

    By: Nurit Israeli

    Is he for real? Does he pretend?
    Is he my friend?
    Should I contend?
    Is this the end?

    Is it desire or purely pain?
    I wrack my brain:
    What is this gleam?
    Perhaps a dream?

    Is this true love or hidden hate?
    Are we too late?
    No? maybe yes?
    Oh, what a mess!

  5. Bruce Niedt

    Here’s one a wrote about five years ago – it was published in the formal poetry journal The Lyric (Note: The scansion of lines 5 and 12 may be debatable, but they were editor’s suggestions that I decided to go along with.) I’ll come up with a new one for the inevitable contest:


    That gangly stand of cedars, gone –
    we cut them down.
    With tooth-like blade,
    our chainsaw brayed.

    We tired of lacy overgrown
    fern hands, up-thrown
    to block our view
    of avenue.

    The yard looks bigger now, we claim,
    and yet more plain.
    We close our eyes,
    and rationalize.

  6. pipersfancy

    I volunteer my time once a week at a women’s max. security correctional centre. Sadly, most of this women are young girls, many still in their teens, who have made terrible life choices. These girls have most often have led lives of poverty, abuse, desperation and no clear path or possibilities to see their way out. Every visit I make leaves an impression on me, and prompts me to feel so grateful for the life I have, and the opportunities I have received. Often, one of the girls will say something that resonates deeply – this poem was inspired by a conversation I had last night.

    each god-forsaken day i rise
    the morning skies
    reflecting tears
    of countless years

    a life in grey-scale will employ
    to blight all joy
    where monochrome
    becomes my home

    though, i’ll speak not of things i’ve done
    i cannot run
    from endless days
    in prison greys

  7. cclark2

    Reaction to a Facebook post

    Strangely compelling video:
    Moving music,
    Stark visuals,
    Angry speakers.

    Gut-grabbing message unfolding:
    Corrupt leaders;
    Greedy merchants;
    Cynical world.

    How many descriptions apply?
    Unbiased, fair,
    Thorough, honest …

  8. Sasha A. Palmer

    Sick & Rejected

    I’m under the weather, in bed,
    my eyes are red.
    Folks from “Rattle”
    don’t help battle

    my cold, no, it only gets worse.
    The wretched curse
    of rejection,
    the injection,

    much needed, that keeps me immune:
    wheel of fortune
    cuts me in half
    again – I laugh.

    1. pipersfancy

      I received the ‘thanks, but no thanks… you’re not among the shortlisted poems’ note from Rattle as well… sigh. Oh well, hope you’re feeling better soon!


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