Katauta: Poetic Form

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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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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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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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