Dodoitsu: Poetic Forms

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Ready to learn a new poetic form? And yeah, you know that a new WD Poetic Form Challenge is just around the corner.

The dodoitsu is a Japanese poetic form developed towards the end of the Edo Period, which came to an end in 1868. As with most Japanese forms, the dodoitsu does not have meter or rhyme constraints, focusing on syllables instead.

This 4-line poem has seven syllables in the first three lines and five syllables in the fourth--and final--line. The dodoitsu often focuses on love or work with a comical twist. While my examples below do not have titles, I haven't found any word on whether dodoitsu traditionally have titles or not.


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Here is an example focused on work:

when a geologist speaks
& the earth trembles seven
meteorologists get
sucked in a twister

Here is an example focused on love:

i gave her all my heart &
heartache but she returned it
with the admission they gave
her severe heartburn


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 loves learning new (to him) poetic forms and trying out new poetic challenges. He is also the author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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