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Tinker

Crapsey Cinquain and Some of Its Variations

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American Poetry

Crapsey Cinquain and some of its Variations

Crapsey Cinquain, one of the most popular modern variations of the cinquain was created by the American poet Adelaide Crapsey, 1897-1914. In 1909 Ms Crapsey became interested in Japanese poetry. In her study notebook she lists tanka and haiku translations from which she developed a set form which she called the "Cinquain". In some poetic circles this form is referred to as the Crapsey or Crapsey Cinquain, in others, particularly on-line it is simply referred to as a Cinquain. (The latter could be misleading since technically the term "cinquain" is defined as any poem or stanza which is 5 lines.

The defining features of the Crapsey Cinquain are:

  1. a stand-alone poem, a complete poem in 5 lines. It can be written in a chain, but each cinquain should be able to stand alone.
  2. syllabic lines in a pattern of 2-4-6-8-2 syllable per line. The original poems were mostly iambic.
  3. often composed with a reflective theme
  4. unrhymed.
  5. always titled. The title almost acts as a 6th line.Triad by Adelaide Crapsey1910 from The Complete Poems" 1915

    These be
    Three silent things:
    The falling snow...the hour
    Before the dawn...the mouth of one
    Just dead.

    Patriarch by Judi Van Gorder 12-5-10                            
                                       
    The glue
    that held us close
    has gone at ninety five.
    Today he closed his clear blue eyes
    and died.
    Parent by Judi Van Gorder 9-14-02Behave!

    Manners
    required,
    hooligans not welcome.
    Mother reminds rowdy children,
    with love.

The following are some variations on the form that I have run across in my research:

  • Cinq Cinquain is a verse form of 5 Crapsey Cinquains written as 5 sequential stanzas.
     
  • Butterfly Cinquain
     
  • Cinquain Chain or Corona of Cinquains is stanzaic invented verse made up of a series of Crapsey Cinquains linked in a chain or corona by the last line of each cinquain repeated as the first line of the next cinquain.

    Headline by Judi Van Gorder

    A child
    is yanked from play
    while frightened playmates stare;
    the thief flies in a blue Honda,
    somewhere. . .

    somewhere,
    the mother begs
    for her child's safe return;
    lights and microphones shadow her,
    hopeful...

    hopeful
    deputies search,
    pressing every bell;
    a body is found, thrown down, neck
    broken

    broken,
    a rookie cop
    fights tears and wipes his eyes,
    then rushes home to hold his own,
    a child.

  • Badger's Hexastich is a fun variation of the Crapsey Cinquain invented by out own Badger. It simply expands the cinquain to another line and 2 more syllables.  The defining features of the Badger's Hexastich are:
    1. a poem in 6 lines.
    2. syllabic, 2-4-6-6-4-2.
    3. unrhymed, optional rising and falling end-words.
      reading,
      rooted in mind,
      not tasting ripe berries,
      the oozing summer scent,                                          
      window open,
      waiting

      ~~Phil Wood

      First flight,
      small granddaughter
      visits Grandma with Dad,
      Mom, brother and sisters
      in soccer play-offs
      back home.

      --Judi Van Gorder

  • Garland of Cinquains is a series of 6 Crapsey Cinquains with the 6th and last cinquain made up of lines from the previous cinquains. L1 of the poem is L1 stanza 6, L2 of the 2nd stanza is L2 of the stanza 6, L3 of the third stanza is L3 of the stanza 6 etc.
     
  • Cinquain Swirl is an invented verse form based on 2 or more Crapsey Cinquains syllable count written without breaks using L5 of each cinquain as L1 of the next cinquain. When centered on the page the lines form a swirling effect.
    1. Writing.com Syllable count is 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 etc. It can be written in any number of lines that complete the 2-4-6-8-2 cycle.
    2. At Poet's Garrett L1 of the first cinquain is repeated as the 2 syllable line similar to a refrain throughout the poem. 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 It can be written in any number of lines that complete the 2-4-6-8-2-4-6-8-2 cycle.
       
  • Cinquino is seems to me is a gimmicky invented verse form that reverses the syllable count of the Crapsey Cinquain. It was found in a book on poetry for teachers and was created by a 20th century American educator James Neille Northe.   The defining features of the Cinquino are:
    1. a poem in 5 lines.
    2. syllabic, 2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.
    3. unrhymed

      I Am

      alone
      time flies on flitting fairy wings
      up down and all around
      I am here now
      alive
                     ~~ jvg

  • The defining features of the Mirror Cinquain are:
    1. decastich (10 line poem)
    2. syllabic, 2-4-6-8-2-2-8-6-4-2 syllables per line.
    3. unrhymed.
    4. titled.
  • The Pensee found in the Caulkins Handbook stresses exact syllable count and strong end words. This invented verse form was first introduced by American poet and educator, Alice Spokes. It can be found on line at Instant Poetry Forms for Kids  The defining features of the Pensee are:
    1. a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
    2. syllabic, 2-4-7-8-8 syllables per line.
    3. unrhymed.
    4. titled.

      Memorial by Judi Van Gorder

      Soldiers
      lost in battle,
      boys sent to war, die as men.
      Our security and freedom
      paid at the cost of their future.

    • Quintiles are multiples of Crapsey Cinquains that center on a similar theme. Any number of cinquains may be gathered and since not otherwise addressed, I assume the different stanzas of this stanzaic invented form may be written by different poets, much like the Renga.
       
    • Reverse Cinquain, an invented verse form, is a backward Crapsey Cinquain reversing the syllable count to 2-8-6-4-2 per line.

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