Minute Poem: Poetic Forms - Writer's Digest

Minute Poem: Poetic Forms

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Before we dive into the poetic form, I just wanted to remind folks about the upcoming poetry event in Hickory, North Carolina. I'll be there, along with several more talented poets. Click here for more information.


Some forms have a long, exotic history. Some forms are relatively new, but have a well-known founder. Others just seem to spring out of nowhere. Such appears to be the case with our most recent poetic form: the minute poem.

The rules are rather simple:

  • 3 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas)
  • 8 syllables in the first line of each stanza
  • 4 syllables in the remaining lines of each stanza
  • rhyme scheme: aabb/ccdd/eeff
  • written in strict iambic meter

So each stanza contains 20 syllables times 3 stanzas equals 60 syllables total. Since there are 60 seconds in a minute, I'm going to go out on a limb and proclaim that's the origin of the name minute poem.


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Here's my attempt at a Minute Poem:

"Days of the Week"

Who knows what comes after Monday
besides Tuesday
who is never
awful clever.

Wednesday will often masquerade
as a parade
for the work week
as if unique.

So, of course, there is the weekend
when we begin
to start our work
or become jerks.


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’s a big fan of learning (and trying) the vast variations of poetic forms available to poets, though he admits he didn't pay close attention to the iambics in his poem above. If you want to show him some love, check out his collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Also, follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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