WD Poetic Form Challenge: Sijo Winner

Well, well, well. I had a lot of fun reading through all the sijo entries. Last time I checked, there were 606 comments. Not all of those were poems, of course. So I “only” read maybe 300-ish sijo, right? But I’m not complaining; it was a lot of fun–and even prompted me to start a poem or three. Thanks for that!

Out of that avalanche of entries, only 10 can make the Top 10 list–and only one can top the list!

Before I announce the winner and Top 10 list, though, I just want to give a shout out to our current Poet Laureate William Preston for being such an amazing force of support for everyone. Of the 600 comments, it would not surprise me if he contributed 200 (or more)–most of them insightful words of encouragement and appreciation. Bravo, William!

Winner and Top 10 List

That makes it all the sweeter for me to announce that William Preston won this installment of the WD Poetic Form Challenge for his sijo, “Wintry Vigil.” So let’s double down on the congratulations for William (also known as Bill to some on here)!

Since the sijo form is only three lines, I’m going to do a countdown of sorts for the Top 10 list–starting at number 10 and then working down to “Wintry Vigil.” For the Poetic Asides column in Writer’s Digest, I’m trying to include the top 3 poems as examples (if the editors will let me get away with using the space). Without further ado, let’s get this countdown started:

[He dressed up for the party], by Daniel Ari

He dressed up for the party, but his dumb hat was not a hit.
They could see under the brim he was faking, which is to say
I didn’t fit. I blamed my hat. It flopped like a fish on the sand.

The Beauty, by Azma Sheikh

She sashayed down the alley, so proud and so nonchalant
My sight swayed with her pendulum like struts, yearning to pick her up
If in my arms, I would brush her fur and keep her as my pet kitty

Freckles in Starbucks, by Kimberly Gladman Jackson

They cover her pale arms neck face hands calves in speckled gold
I say I’d love to have them and she laughs; I never hear that
Shoulders the door open; shimmers as she walks into the sun

All That Glitters, by Margie Fuston

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.

Easy Things, by Jane Shlensky

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.

Missing, by Rosemary Nissen-Wade

My black cat is moping tonight, and wandering the whole house
uttering strident miaows; I know he wants me to fix it all
but I can’t bring back our dead man, I can only cuddle the cat.

Drowning, by Daniel Roessler

Murky waters of the swollen creek move swiftly toward merging
The willow’s branches droop downward, already weeping for him
Panic and desperation surface; sinking, then swallowed

Solution Unknown, by Bruce Niedt

Pencil sharp, I tackle them–crossword puzzles, devilish grids,
squares to fill with many words, intersecting. Yet you remain
an enigma. I write, then erase. No words I know can solve you.

Brushing My Daughter’s Hair, by Kimberly Gladman Jackson

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?

Wintry Vigil, by William Preston

Every day the old coyote  visits the hedge by the old boat
and stands there, sniffing the air, first to the east, then to the west,
then sits, still. So do I. We wait, till we can smell Earth again.


Congratulations to everyone who made the Top 10! And thank you to everyone who participated and who continue to make this a wonderful place to poem and share poems. I really enjoyed reading this form, and it appears many enjoyed writing it.

So in parting, here’s one more sijo; it didn’t make the top 10, but it was still a super fun read–and that’s really what these challenges are all about:

[Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious], by lionetravail

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


Find even more entries by reading the comments on the original Sijo Challenge post.

Look for the next form challenge before the April madness gets started! Speaking of which, here are the guidelines for the 2014 April PAD Challenge.


Workshop your poetry!

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 a parent who’s watched Disney’s version of Mary Poppins quite a few times lately (breaking out in “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Step in Time,” and yes, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” without a moment’s notice). He’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems, which doesn’t involve chimney sweeps and nannies–but it does have a nice lyric or three. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


Find more poetic posts here:


You might also like:

  • No Related Posts

16 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Sijo Winner

  1. seingraham

    What a fun form! I missed this one somehow but it was obviously well-received and well and truly experimented with and tried…congratulations to all the winners, especially William. As always a class act with a wonderful way with words.

  2. Hannah

    Ooo…goosebumps…these are ALL so very good. Thank you Robert for hosting this…excellent job contributing poets and congratulations to the top 10…BRAVO to the winner, William, (I love the winning poem, so much presence in this work…power in brevity, beautiful). :)’s

  3. RebekahJ

    Many thanks and congratulations to everyone who participated and made this such a wonderful and welcoming experience for me, in my first month of having discovered Poetic Asides. It is truly a gift to find such a creative, supportive, positive community. I look forward to spending the poetry month of April together!

    Kimberly G. J.

  4. DanielR

    Sijo’s were great fun to write and really helped me slim down my normal wordiness! Congrats to William and to everyone who participated in the competition! I really enjoyed reading so much inspiring poetry.

  5. PressOn

    I’m honored, indeed, to be included among this group of people and their poems, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious included. I’ll bet you had a dilly of a time getting the list down to a score or so, Robert. Congratulations to everyone who made the list, and thanks for the kind words, Robert and everyone. I enjoyed this form, and I felt like I was learning it as I went along, especially as I could read the excellent efforts of so many poets. It is a pleasure to read and to offer comments, and I’m a bit irritated that I’m on a working trip at the moment, and can’t participate as much as I’d like.

  6. De Jackson

    What a great list, and a a BIG congratulations to all, especially our beloved Bill.

    Some incredible work here. I’m particularly drawn to this line, from Kimberly Jackson’s piece:
    “Fifty microns leaves a world of room to tangle.”

    Congratulations to all!

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Congrats to Bill, a wonderful laureate and king of sijo. It was a great form to tamp down my wordiness. Great work from top ten colleagues.

  8. Bruce Niedt

    Thanks again for selecting my poetry, Robert! This was an intriguing form to write, and even more fun to read, I think. (The Korean international student who lives with us was very pleased to hear I was writing sijo.) I enjoyed all the top 10, and even that clever one from “lionetravail”. Congrats to all the other finalists!


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