Skip to main content

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.

*****

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 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.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 628

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a reflection poem.

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: The Weight of Blood

Writer’s Digest Official Book Club Selection: The Weight of Blood

The editors of Writer’s Digest are proud to announce the next book club selection, The Weight of Blood, by New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson.

5 Tips for Writing a Medical Thriller

5 Tips for Writing a Medical Thriller

There are endless opportunities to build tension in medical thrillers. Here, Dr. Cristina LePort 5 tips for writing a medical thriller from the medical jargon to tying up loose ends.

Good Samaritan or Bystander?

Good Samaritan or Simply Bystander?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, your character witnesses something bad happening—will they intervene?

Lygia Day Peñaflor: On Writing Unconventional Villains

Lygia Day Peñaflor: On Writing Unconventional Villains

Author Lygia Day Peñaflor discusses the high school experience that inspired her new YA psychological drama, Creep: A Love Story.

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Author and Sisters in Crime Vice President Jennifer J. Chow reflects on 35 years of the women's crime writer's organization and the five benefits of joining a writing organization—even if you're an introvert.

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

While emulating authors you love is a natural starting point, finding your own voice in storytelling is paramount to your success. Author Ronald Kelly shares 5 tips for forming your own writing voice.

From Script

Keeping the Emotion of the True Story (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, Barri Evins offers writers invaluable pointers on navigating the pitfalls, as well as capturing the potential of the true story, peppered with lots of real-life examples.

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Author Sarah Bonner discusses how she started her debut novel as short story before it became the psychological thriller, Her Perfect Twin.