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Tinker

Imayo

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Japanese Verse

Imayo It seems that whenever I research a Japanese form, it involves an alternating 5-7 or 7-5 syllabic structure. The Imayo (present style) of the 12th century is no exception. This form creates long lines broken by caesura separating 7 and 5 syllables in the line.

The Imayo is associated with song, (recitation in a high pitch) and originated with the common people in folk song. But by the Heian period it was embraced by the Imperial court. This folk art evolved with the influence of Imperial aristocrats and famous courtesans or Shirabyoshi dancers incorporated the Imayo into their performances. One type of Imayo is used in Kabuki, Japanese theatre.

The elements of the Imayo are:

  1. a 4 line poem.
  2. syllabic, written in 12 syllable lines broken by caesura after the 7th syllable.

    Boycott by Judi Van Gorder

    Monday's march of la raza, Mexican flags wave,
    laborers walk off their jobs, intersections clogged,
    plain white T-shirts on brown skin, immigrants shout,
    "We are Americans too!", some legal, some not.

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