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Katauta: Poetic Forms

Learn how to write the katauta, a Japanese three-liner, including guidelines for the poetic form and an example poem.

Let's look at one or two more poetic forms before the end of the year, starting with the katauta poem.

Katauta Poems

The katauta is a Japanese poetic form that is actually considered an incomplete or half-poem. It's a 3-liner that follows either 5-7-5 or more commonly 5-7-7 syllables per line. Sounds like a haiku or senryu, right? But this poem is specifically addressed to a lover.

When paired together, multiple katautas act as a question and answer conversation between lovers to form sedoka. If the concept of sedoka sounds familiar, it's similar to somonka, in which 2 tankas are written as love letters.

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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.

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Here’s my attempt at a Katauta:

Untitled Katauta, by Robert Lee Brewer

why do winter stars
shine brighter than summer stars
as if they are shards of glass?

And while we're at it, here's a Sedoka:

Untitled Sedoka, by Robert Lee Brewer

why do winter stars
shine brighter than summer stars
as if they are shards of glass?

don't blame the seasons
on the ever changing heat
of your lover's quick embrace.

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