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  • All poems should be previously unpublished.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. Jane Shlensky

    Summer Plans

    Come summer, I shall take to swimming pools, outside, where young ones sun.
    I’ll bring my winter weight to show them where their futures lie. Nearby,
    after my swim, I’ll replay when I was bikinied, thin, and them.

  2. Jane Shlensky


    The feeder’s full, the word goes out from chickadee and cardinal,
    and soon the air is full of wings, excited chirps, and happy things.
    My morning coffee, grinning cat, helps me to breathe and savor that.

  3. Jane Shlensky

    False Light

    The sun shines window-warm for cats and plants inside a house,
    but outside my blood freezes in bright promises of light—
    like you, life of the party, dazzling star, who leaves me cold.

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Eye of the Beholder

    Beauty can glide along a muddy pond, causing the sky
    to drop, be mirrored there, lamb clouds to settle warm as bloomed cotton,
    or peek through snow, a crocus, necessary as your eyes sweet gaze.

  5. Jane Shlensky

    He Walked Away

    The trail along the creek crackles, the water’s edge laced with ice.
    Our boots leave wet prints on frost, evidence of a long search
    for something small and quiet as a fawn, frightened as a child.

  6. Jane Shlensky

    Soft Dark

    My heart’s mineshaft, pitch-dark, is jagged with fears of is, is not,
    but darkness can be velvet soft, a toasty quilt, so comforting,
    a warm hearth on lonely nights, when I dream your bright eyes.

  7. Jane Shlensky


    Old snow still lies at forest’s edge, drifted against trees’ northern sides,
    staying for more to join it, locals swear, scanning blank skies.
    We wait for you, gone so long, residue of hope melting away.

  8. Jane Shlensky


    Hibernation counts on spring, floes turned to flows, alive with yes;
    and so I weather snow and ice and grow attached to barren bark,
    while you, down under on a beach, brave scorching sun, and I am warmed.

  9. Jane Shlensky

    Shadow Lessons

    He trails his brother every step, watches and mimics little things—
    to walk with shoulders back and spit, make friends and fight a million wrongs,
    but never look behind to see who patterns himself after you.

  10. Jane Shlensky

    Darkness Grins

    The Jews have known it all along, the comedy in tragedy,
    how just beneath the worst, there looms a chuckle, darkest irony,
    that we believed in ledges, nets, to break our wailing fall.

  11. Jane Shlensky


    I loved him—I can say that now and weep—too late for him
    to tutor me in sundry loving ways, to see me petal-
    open to his light, to watch me watch him go and blow a kiss.

  12. DanielR

    What was it about your cover that piqued my interest?
    Selecting you from among your peers, you promised me suspense
    With each turned page, you become a friend I long to spend more time with

    Daniel Roessler

    1. PressOn

      I feel a bit of a fraud here, because I rarely read novels. I have heard others speak of novels as friends, though. I have another view of the world, thanks to your poem.

  13. DanielR

    Sweeping brush strokes of mad geniuses, displayed in ornate frames
    Cold, neutral walls given warmth by vibrant colors on canvas
    Mesmerized admirers, staring, privy to another’s soul

    Daniel Roessler

    1. PressOn

      I never thought of being “privy to another’s soul,” which, I suppose, shows my insensitivity to art. Your poem gave me an new way to think on it. Thanks.

  14. Linda Hatton


    She left your kisses on the counter sometime before the maid cleaned
    up. Swept to the trash with one bare arm, then took them curbside, gave
    them away to a place where she can never get them back.

    -Linda G Hatton

  15. Azma


    Oh! What do I wear? Dilemna demons decided to dare.
    Plaids, purples or polka dots? Alas! My mind is left in knots.
    At last! Relived to work with the blues. Oh wait! There’s still shoes to choose.

    -Azma Sheikh

  16. PressOn


    Pianos, left to themselves, go out of tune and start to fade,
    and the songs we used to sing limn the parlor like a soft shade;
    my soul knows few sights so haunting as pianos left unplayed.

    William Preston

    1. lionetravail

      What a total picture this paints! Fantastic… I can see the threadbare fabrics of the sofa, the worn wallpaper, and the moth holes in the curtains. Both lovely and sad.

  17. DanielR

    Iron arches, exposed and weathered by the glare of many suns
    Spanning deep, swift, muddy waters with some far away birthplace
    Connecting strangers lives, shocked, I watch her jumping off point

    Daniel Roessler

  18. DanielR

    Grains of shifting sand settle in around my damp feet and toes
    Waves caress the shoreline, whispering endless possibilities
    With anticipation, I gaze toward the place where blue meets blue

    Daniel Roessler

  19. Linda Hatton

    Seven-Year (Gl)itch

    The hibernating winter brought drought to the kingdom, created
    cracks where tears once lived, teased me with a hint of himself, made
    me question whether love survives without the change of seasons.

    -Linda G Hatton (who seems to be hooked on parentheses) 🙂

  20. Brandi Beck

    His rough hand upon her cheek is hot and heats her to a burn
    Revealing the rapid pulse that beats beneath her reddened throat.
    Turning from his warm caresses, she hides her heart in a blush.

  21. lionetravail

    Wintry Trails

    She lay before me, pristine. Queen of all I surveyed.
    I shivered. Virginal, she, free to be ravished. I swayed,
    transfixed by her snowy beauty. Duty called, and tracks I laid.

  22. Linda Hatton

    (Not) One Direction

    The turn signal screams over teen-club beats, turn left, turn right, any
    direction, but straight ahead where the street dead ends, sobered,
    disrobed of my love for you, the seat next to me empty.

    -Linda G Hatton

  23. Linda Hatton

    Without (Fri)ends

    This poem doesn’t know where to go, like a seventh-grader
    with no one to turn to, stopping and starting, word-searching
    for love in I’s and U’s, hiding between the lines on the playground . . .

    -Linda G Hatton

  24. Margie Fuston

    Counting Pennies

    Men and women dressed in Burberry, or maybe Armani,
    drop pennies like paper on sidewalks, in crevices, unmissed.
    Across the forgotten world, or maybe just next door, people starve.

  25. Linda.H

    The wind tugs at the edges of winter’s lacey White gown,
    creating white waves of snow that roll across the hidden earth.
    Inside, you trace my body, each curve a snowdrift ready to melt.

    Linda Hofke

  26. Charlene Prahasky

    By Charlene Prahasky

    Covered in darkness body beaten to the core, encased in fear, in time no more.

    Dreams take shape through mended escape, fear subsides, in time much more.

    Radiant light surrounds a beautiful being abounds, love pervades, in time amazingly more.

  27. Charlene Prahasky

    By Charlene Prahasky

    Covered in darkness body beaten to the core, encased in fear, in time no more.

    Dreams take shape through mended escape, fear subsides, in time much more.

    Radiant light surrounds as a beautiful being abounds, love pervades, in time amazingly more.

  28. Azma

    The lost friend

    We ran together, across the playground I remember
    So sanguinely they said- our friendship would never fade
    But now you are lost in the mist, just a name in my Friendlist

    -Azma Sheikh

  29. DanielR

    Scattered fragments of years left behind, recalled and then forgotten
    Glimpses of childhood happiness at far too great a distance
    Epitaphs on weathered headstones cannot be forgiven

    Daniel Roessler

  30. lionetravail

    The sijo form is yrical. Cadence? Metaphysical.
    Its messages may typical-ly be quite prototypical-
    political, critical, egotistical, or, to beat a dead horse, with last line meter disjointedly atypical.

  31. lionetravail

    My hard drive is nearly full; I’m not sure how to de-frag.
    To save more information, old bytes must be recycled.
    Survival of the fittest: the paragon of memories.

    1. lionetravail

      Actually, I’ve been feeling kind of scattered recently, and I meant the computer reference more as a metaphor for my brain- hence the last line involving saving the most important memories, rather than files.

      I guess it could have been clearer 🙂

        1. lionetravail

          Wonderful suggestion- thank you, Rosemary!

          Maybe call it: “A Terrible Thing To Waste”… or, whimsically, “The More You Study… The Less You Know”?

  32. PressOn


    Rusted rails, twisted and split, stretch from here to eternity;
    at sundown, when purple comes, they straighten out and ghosts return:
    striding back, robust and profane, come God’s men who worked the rails.

    William Preston

  33. Linda Hatton


    Unbridled pest grips smaller boy’s backpack like reins of a horse,
    hoofing over the floods of middle school, trampling unsaddled
    until mere horse turns steed, bucking, fleeing to high(er) (school) pastures.

    -Linda G Hatton

  34. BezBawni

    Dream State

    When little girls start to fly among invisible feathers,
    and gold is reflected in the tears of silver and bronze –
    forty-four miss only two. It’s hot, it’s cool, it’s jittery.

    1. lionetravail

      Gorgeous! I don’t know how the “forty four miss only two”, but I love the abrupt transition to it, and then to the enigmatic last phrase. Very nice and mysterious.

  35. PressOn


    My poems sometimes slumber many a night, many a day,
    but sooner, often later, they and paper manage to play.
    When cornered, creativity seeks its release, come what may.

    William Preston

  36. cholder

    He trudged to work each day; slaved for a lifetime, his wage unpaid
    Found that love shattered, brought a man low, on his knees toiling
    Faith in a tiny seed sown; too weary to tend the garden

    Chi Holder

  37. DanielR

    With each strike of the ivory keys, your melody calls out to me
    No crowds, grand stage, or spotlight, you still play on in to the night
    A few dollars in your jar, long ago dreams of being a star

    Daniel Roessler

  38. DanielR

    Tilt-A-Whirls and Ferris wheels, screams of fear and delight pierce the night
    Pink and fluffy cotton candy clouds float by, gobbled up and gone
    Barking voices offer three throws for a dollar, win if you can

    Daniel Roessler


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