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Kouta: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the kouta, a Japanese quatrain (or 4-line) form.

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the kouta, a Japanese quatrain (or 4-line) form.

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Kouta Poems

The only poetic mention of kouta I've found (online or in print) is in Robin Skelton's The Shapes of Our Singing, though I did find a post on Japan Info that claims it was a traditional song of geisha. Both sources also interpret the word kouta as meaning "little song." Skelton provides two variations of these little songs.

(Click here to check out other Japanese poetic forms.)

Kouta (Version 1): quatrain (or 4 lines) with the following syllable count per line: 7575

Kouta (Version 2): quatrain with the following syllable count: 7775

No other rules regarding rhymes, seasonal words, subject matter, etc.

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Here’s my attempt at a kouta:

Doe, by Robert Lee Brewer

She walked across dew-soaked grass
along with two fawns
but never looked as it passed
traffic in the dawn.

And here's the second variation:

Doe, by Robert Lee Brewer

She walked across dew-soaked grass
along with two spotted fawns
but never looked as it passed
traffic in the dawn.

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