Sijo: Poetic Form

Author:
Publish date:

While the sijo poetic form is new to Poetic Asides, it is actually older than haiku. This Korean poetic form is only three lines long, but a lot is packed into those three lines. Here's a quick rundown:

  • 3 lines in length, averaging 14-16 syllables per line (for a poem total of 44-46 syllables).
  • Line 1 introduces the situation or theme of the poem.
  • Line 2 develops the theme with more detail or a "turn" in argument.
  • Line 3 presents a "twist" and conclusion.

That's a quick overview, but it can get a lot more involved. Here are some more things to consider:

  • Sijo are meant to be songs, so this form is more lyrical.
  • Poems can be profound, humorous, metaphysical, and personal.
  • Each line should have a pause (or break) somewhere in the middle.
  • First half of the final line employs a "twist" of meaning, sound, or another poetic device.

With me so far? Sijo are lyrical and meant to be sung, so even the lines have a traditional syllable break:

  • Line 1: 3-4-4-4
  • Line 2: 3-4-4-4
  • Line 3: 3-5-4-3

This last part is a good goal to aspire achieving, but it's more flexible than the overall syllable count per line and poem. Whew!

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

Image placeholder title

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer’s Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here's an example sijo that I wrote:

"Orbit"

I tell her we're always alone, but she says we're together
the same as the moon spins with the earth around the sun.
If they weren't together, she tells me, we would not be alive.

*****

If you want more resources on sijo, check these out:

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of Writer's Digest Writing Community and editor of Poet's Market. So he's a little biased when he says it's an amazing resource for poets, but it doesn't mean that he's wrong. He's the author of Solving the World's Problems and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere. He's married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

Here are a few more poetic posts:

Poetic Forms

Rannaigecht Mor Gairit: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the rannaigecht mor gairit, a variant form of the rannaigecht.

Weinstein_1:21

The Writer, The Inner Critic, & The Slacker

Author and writing professor Alexander Weinstein explains the three parts of a writer's psyche, how they can work against the writer, and how to utilize them for success.

Stottlemyre_1:21

Todd Stottlemyre: On Mixing and Bending Genres

Author Todd Stottlemyre explains how he combined fiction and nonfiction in his latest book and what it meant as a writer to share his personal experiences.

plot_twist_story_prompts_take_a_trip_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Take a Trip

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character take a trip somewhere.

Probst_1:20

Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.

Wrobel_1:20

Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.

who_are_the_inaugural_poets_for_united_states_presidents_robert_lee_brewer

Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.

precedent_vs_president_grammar_rules_robert_lee_brewer

Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

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 future poem.