WD Poetic Form Challenge: Sijo

You knew it was coming–the next WD Poetic Form Challenge!

This time around, we’re trying out the sijo, a three-line Korean poetic form. It’s more lyrical than a haiku, and there are more syllables. Click here to read how to write a sijo.

Once you down the rules of sijo, start writing them and sharing here on the blog for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column.

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on February 23, 2014.
  • Poets can enter as many sijo (sijos?) as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com. Or just write a new sijo.
  • I will only consider sijo shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!


Get started in writing!

Click here to learn more.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and already a fan of the sijo, because of its lyrical nature. He’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (click here to check out a special offer on the book) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. He’s currently set to read poetry in Seattle, Hickory (NC), and Austin–but he’s always open to adding to his schedule. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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606 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Sijo

  1. lionetravail

    “Come on over”, my mother said, “and we’ll bake things together”.
    A quiet Sunday afternoon; butter, eggs, flour, sugar.
    Oven at three-fifty, yielding fresh-baked memories for two.

    1. Brian A. Klems

      If you’re new to the site, your first couple of posts go through an approval process (to make sure the account isn’t a spammer account). When it happens on a weekend it takes me a couple of days to catch up as I go through them personally.

      Thanks for your patience and it should be up now.
      Online Editor

  2. RUTH R. B.


    The world is full of broken glass, lying shattered on the ground.
    The glistening sun points out the pieces: broken hearts and shattered dreams.
    Though the world is broken, it’s in the broken beauty’s born.

  3. PressOn


    Us old folks recall the songs folks singers sang in olden times;
    all are gone, folks and singers, gone to far lands beyond all time
    but their songs had their own sweet rhymes. So, let’s sing them one more time.

    William Preston

  4. DanielR

    Awakened, I watch a scary shadow claw my window screen
    Superman blankets offer little protection from monsters
    Mama hugs me tight; I will never climb that tree again

    Daniel Roessler

  5. DanielR

    You cuckoo to me, announcing my procrastination
    Banded in ornamental splendor, my traveling companion
    Taken for granted, when you should be cherished and treasured

    Daniel Roessler

  6. Jane Shlensky

    I’m on a Sijo roll for the last few days. Love this form’s ability to limit my meandering…


    Dawn’s light will spark ice diamonds astounding dozing ground
    under new blue-capped day, gray mist burned off like remembered loss.
    Trees will puff with green promise, tales of bloom, blue birds winging. Just wait.

  7. Jane Shlensky


    When problems come in rags and empty-eyed, she opens wide her door.
    They take her home, explore, make her a slave to being kind.
    No longer can she fight what should be right; she moves away.

    1. PressOn

      I love this. The sounds and sense are both profound. It also reminds me of an expression my father used to use about helpful folks: “They are like a willing team of horses. One horse is willing to do it all; the other is willing she should.”

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Easy Things

    I’m getting old, in love with easy things, like laughter and losing
    weight, waking fluent in languages and instruments, energy
    settling over me like a cotton gown, lilting like praise and grace.

  9. Jane Shlensky

    School Lunch

    He meets the bus, huge hungry grinding mustard spill on wheels.
    Its maul twists open, he steps in, with other doleful faces.
    Maybe he’ll come to like being chewed and spit out at each day’s end.

  10. Margie Fuston


    The sun dips into the clouds with Midas’s touch, spilling lust.
    We watch from the sand, your fingers tracing the trail of my veins,
    your own magic, passing from skin to skin, turning me to treasure.

  11. Margie Fuston

    All That Glitters

    Ladybugs cluster to form the brightness of your freckled cheeks.
    Dandelions weave strands of gold to form your flowing hair.
    But ladybugs turn brown in death, and dandelions are just weeds.

  12. RebekahJ

    Handheld Prayer

    Teacup child’s back toothbrush comb; husband’s arm doorknob subway strap phone
    Squeeze stroke tap type scroll wave pull; thin quick cold chapped helping full
    On this tender day, dear God, please bless the work of my hands.

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  13. Jane Shlensky


    Under an angry sky, they hunkered cellar deep, waiting
    as winds picked up, watching for tendrils dropping, swirling fickle straws.
    Hope’s light slices banks of gray, nods to twisting forms of fate.

  14. newbie44

    Seasonal Strife
    by Renee Meador

    Evergreens undulate like hula dancers on sunny beach
    As the north wind surges south in pulsing gasps lest spring prevail.
    Pineapple Express victor drapes hula dancers in white leis.

  15. cholder

    I warned them it was coming; still they danced under the dark sky
    The ominous clouds alarmed me, but they laughed at my distress
    Oh virtue! Even after it thundered, they did not believe

    Chi Holder

  16. bjzeimer

    Earth Sijo

    How lovely, this planet, its surface shadowed, with forest green
    and blue surround, the big harvest moon, the red glow of a setting sun.
    For of this kind, who would think, that Earth came, from a big bang?

  17. bjzeimer

    Earth Day

    Earth’s climate, is changing, to harsh winters, with hot summers,
    tornadoes on the East Coast, blizzards as far as the deep south.
    But let us hold a summit, of the world, some say we are to blame.

  18. Jane Shlensky


    If we eroded down to dirt, becoming over time
    wild ground, amazed with random flowers, nothing nature did not found,
    would you be happy then, raising your petaled face to sky?

  19. Jane Shlensky


    My sister collects instruments to hang upon the wall.
    So beautiful, the workmanship, mother-of pearl, rich wood, and strings.
    She does not wish them played; they stand like wax tenors, choked with song.

      1. PressOn

        Wouldn’t surprise me in the least. This one, in particular, overflows with love for music, expressed powerfully, I think, in the notion that the instruments are “choked,” despite being on display for their craftsmanship. Marvelous!

  20. Jane Shlensky

    Pearls before Swine

    Tell us a story, complicated, sad, she says. I start,
    “In Denmark, Prince Hamlet…” when she turns to shake his arm.
    “Wib, listen, how sweet, a royal ham. Don’t you just love pig stories?”

  21. Jane Shlensky

    Bill, I just want to tell you that you are the laureate of laureates. Seeing your responses to every single entry posted, and every one so heartfelt and insightful, just blows my mind. I’m such a fan of your work and your kindness.

      1. Jane Shlensky

        I’m much much better, though now recovering from eye surgery. Maybe by spring, I’ll be breathing and able to see all that lovely pollen on the air. 😉 Thanks for the kindnesses.

  22. Jane Shlensky


    A steady rain melts mounds of snow, sky water sculpting that
    frozen face left frowning on the ground; its icy stare responds,
    Time to be a pond, reflect, swell streams, feed springs, thaw hearts. Reform!

  23. Jane Shlensky

    What Lies Beneath

    Beneath the snow lies possibility tucked into earth,
    rebirth of seed or bulb awaiting sun to stun pods housing hope.
    Nature unfolds as we do, infinite layers rising to light.

      1. Jane Shlensky

        Wonderful! It’s sung to “Good King Wenceslas” tune. Made me smile and sing too. You have also reminded me to ask if you’re familiar with “The Hymn of Promise”. It is my favorite hymn–a fine poem put to a lovely melody–which doesn’t happen often. Check it out, for I’m sure you’ll love the words there. It ranks with “Morning Has Broken” for me.

  24. DanielR

    Artistic acrobats against a backdrop of endless blue
    Swallows, diving and swooping, fully extending pointed wings
    After dinner, the show ends, gliding safely toward home

    Daniel Roessler

  25. JRSimmang


    Down-trodden, teeth rotten. Clothes stained red thread-bare and unfed.
    He’s dead. Immune to the tune of the wind. His sign, in letters, read,
    “Spare Conversation: anything helps.” I roll my windows down instead.

    -JR Simmang

  26. RebekahJ

    Brushing My Daughter’s Hair

    Recessive genes surprised us with her flaxen helixed curls;
    Fifty microns leaves a world of room to tangle. When she’s forty,
    Will she still know I finger-combed to gentle out the knots?

    Kimberly Gladman Jackson

  27. Domino

    He asks her, “What is it like holding my heart in your two hands the way you do?”
    A veiled gaze; is he joking? Realizing no repartee
    she answers after a moment, and with a smile, “You should know.”

    Diana Terrill Clark

  28. lionetravail

    has just about the syllables, and meter’s not atrocious.
    But why’ve I gone and sijo’ed it? It’s probably neurosis!

  29. PressOn


    When I checked, the comment count was getting close to five hundred;
    I pity the editor who has to count sijo syllables:
    as he counts, these mounds of sijo will come and go, ebb and flow.


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