Skip to main content

Choka: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the choka, a Japanese form with a variable length.

Before we jump into this week's poetic form, I just want to give a heads up that we may be spotty on poetic forms through the rest of the year. I'll be poeming daily in November for the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge, and December is usually a busy month. That said, we'll be back at it in January (if I'm not able to sneak one or two in before then).

Speaking of the choka (OK, maybe we weren't, but...), it's a Japanese poetic form with a variable length that follows these guidelines:

  • Five syllables in the odd-numbered lines (line one, three, five, etc.)
  • Seven syllables in the even-numbered lines (line two, four, six, etc.)
  • Finishes with two consecutive seven-syllable lines

As with other Japanese poetic forms, the choka does not typically rhyme or have rules on meter.

*****

The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

*****

Here's my attempt at a Choka poem:

"trip," by Robert Lee Brewer

the rain surprised us
as we waited for the train
so our clothes were drenched
when we boarded after lunch
but we just sang songs
about Gene Kelly and then
we settled into
our smiles and idle chatter
both the former and latter

(Note: I mentioned that choka don't typically rhyme in the guidelines above, but I decided to take poetic license with the form on my closing couplet...because that's what poets do.)

Love the Art. Work the Business. | Nikesha Elise Williams

Nikesha Elise Williams: On the Power of Self-Publishing

In this indie author profile, novelist Nikesha Elise Williams shares her path to self publishing and the creative marketing strategy that's led to her success.

Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, there's been a sudden and unforeseen change of plans.

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

Author Ashley M. Coleman gives you her top five tricks for writing about the music industry—even if you're not an industry expert.

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

10 Tips on Covering Events as a Freelance Journalist

From planning ahead to staying late, Alison Hill shares 10 tips for journalists while covering events as a freelancer.

From Script

Character Studies, Writing the Immigrant Experience, and Six Adaptation Steps Before You Adapt a Book (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, navigate different character study approaches in your writing, and tracking emotional journeys.

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Lora Senf: On Trusting Children With Middle Grade Fiction

Author Lora Senf discusses how one chilling text message led her to writing her new middle grade horror novel, The Clackity.

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Katrina Leno: On Writing Around an Idea

Critically acclaimed novelist Katrina Leno discusses the process of bringing her childhood memories to magical life in her new young adult novel, Sometime in Summer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, "Your Story" Prompt, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our latest episode of "Writer's Digest Presents," the new "Your Story" prompt, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.