Waka: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the waka, a Japanese 5-liner.
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Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the waka, a Japanese 5-liner.

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Waka Poems

The waka is a Japanese 5-line poem (or stanza) that is often considered synonymous with the tanka, because both have a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable per line structure. However, the waka groups its lines together in a particular way. The first 2 lines should make up one piece, the next 2 lines should make the next, and then, the final line can stand on its own--or as part of the second group.

It's possible to end stop after line 2, 4, and 5. But other forms of punctuation can do the trick as well.

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Master Poetic Forms!

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.

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Here’s my attempt at a waka:

after, by Robert Lee Brewer

midnight stalks the grounds
of your partly eclipsed heart,
beating the sunshine
across this sad calendar--
remembering past cycles...

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