WD Poetic Form Challenge: Dizain

It’s time for the next poetic form challenge: writing the dizain!

Find the rules for writing dizains here. It’s basically a 10 line by 10 syllable French form with a set rhyme scheme.

So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

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 October 31, 2016.
  • Poets can enter as many dizains as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished.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@fwcommunity.com. Or just write a new dizain. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider dizains 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 user/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!


Results for the 2016 April PAD Challenge and Haiku Sonnet form challenge are just around the corner.


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In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

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Robert 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 also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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134 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Dizain

  1. lsteadly

    That One Moment

    If there were a way to make time stand still
    so that I may hold onto this moment
    knowing that I can never get my fill
    of your hands causing my body torment
    all details of this day rich and potent
    the certain slant of light across your face
    your heart’s cadence a perfectly matched pace
    with mine as fibers of our souls entwine
    laying down hopes for our fingers to trace
    back to this time when I knew you were mine

    Lisa L Stead

  2. BDP

    “Above Below”

    Cloud elephants with trunks unfurling toward
    earth: not a god herself she fashions gods.
    No soul, no lust, no eye for eye, a sword
    du jure of fire or gale or ice. We hate our odds
    against her, pray storms pass, we raise facades,
    our houses, cars and stores, live easy, hard,
    by choice or not, we poke at her, en garde!
    She coexists far better than we can,
    a palm tree wand bends hurricane’s bombard,
    while we need beauty, even as we ruin.

    –Barb Peters

  3. BDP

    “Letter to a Friend Lost”

    Page 1:

    I learned the story and will never understand
    how you—I saw the tree on Google maps—
    crouched down beneath, I picture gun in hand,
    police persuading, drop it: one more lapse,
    to kill yourself where your kids lived. Did you grasp
    that? No, your ex-wife tells me, you did not.
    A savvy lawyer, wayward husband—Scott,
    I’m livid yet still miss our laughs together.
    When I can’t read my brain’s own Rorschach blot,
    should I condemn? You chose when, never whether.

    Page 2:

    That week you said goodbye to everyone
    who still stayed close. I’m told they had no clue
    until your emails to your eldest son,
    your wife, your ex, lunch hour: what I will do,
    Fingers on a keyboard meant that you
    sent Help? Perhaps. Your relatives and friends
    look back to you “up till”—guy who pretends
    smiles, back slaps, hey, let’s hit the gym, please come
    for dinner, prime rib. All that left dead ends.
    You took hope with you, at your zero-sum.

    –Barb Peters

  4. carolyngrace


    Called to HR on the thirteenth story
    Funny, there’s nobody here to be seen
    Back in the lift there’s a directory
    Abruptly I parse what the numbers mean
    There’s nothing between floors twelve and fourteen
    I punch ‘Lobby’, my heart rate multiplied
    The doors start to close, a voice stops their slide
    “Ah, I was looking all over for you”
    No light escapes whatever lurks outside
    “Nearly time for your exit interview”

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Faulkner’s Last Interview

    I dream of hunting dogs I loved and raised—
    Absalom, Moses, Sartoris be praised,
    Elmer, Mayday, Martino, and Miss Gant
    were sure to catch the story that I chased
    if light in August dimmed the story’s slant.

    As I lay dying, Delta autumn’s dusk,
    the sound and furious hurricane winds whined
    that I am an intruder in the dust,
    unvanquished as wild palms and yet refined,
    Yoknapatawpha County on my mind.

  6. Jane Shlensky


    I don’t know why he’s angry all the time;
    his memorizing ills won’t bring him joy.
    Fault-finding is no path to the sublime,
    and hate’s a weight that cannot ever buoy
    him up—fit only to waste and destroy
    whatever peace and laughter he can find.
    How strange and varied is the human mind
    that offers us a choice—to understand
    or concentrate on wrongs that make us blind,
    for what we choose to focus on expands.

  7. Jane Shlensky


    First frost and leaves turn yellow, red, and gold
    as trees spend shorter moments in the sun
    challenging color palettes to be bold,
    telling the world that winter has begun
    with autumn’s leaves dropping down, one by one.

    First kiss and hearts whisper of days to come,
    when thoughts add up to loving, sum by sum.
    Then longing deepens like October skies.
    At last, we feel first frost beat like a drum
    that marks time in the breath of all our sighs.

  8. Tamyka Bell

    Matrimoans, by Tamyka Bell

    My married friends, they say—though they pretend—
    all told, they wish they’d never walked this road.
    Together, they’re committed to the end.
    Regrets abound their marital abode—
    inside they both collapse under the load.
    May life’s temptations pass, just as they come,
    or we may find that we also succumb
    and lose our way like those poor, troubled souls.
    Nay, never let our day lives make us numb—
    surrender to the heat within our coals.

  9. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    What Kills the Heart

    What kills the heart is the lie uncovered,
    exposing a different truth to your eyes.
    Everything you had thought is other.

    You would rather not be so newly wise,
    but once you have seen, you cannot devise
    any way to twist your perception back
    to the old, taken-for-granted world view.

    Suddenly you are walking a new track,
    unknown, unmapped. There is nothing to do
    but journey on, inside this cold new you.


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