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Invented Forms

Writing.com is a site that took me years to master. It is all about writing, novels, poetry, short stories, whatever. Writers may post their work and blogs and it appears massive. I originally found it difficult to maneuver through the maze, I have since figured the site out. In order to take advantage of all of its features it costs money.  There is limited access for free.  However it is loaded with prompts, contests and challenges that can be fun and informative.  Skill ranges from beginner to professional writers. 

Unfortunately at this point in my research there isn't much left that I haven't already researched and posted. However there are some original invented forms at WCD and also forms used from obscure sites that have been reproduced  here.  Dave Schneider, the leader of one of the many forums available, Poet's Place Café, challenges poets to use a "tool of the trade" on Mondays and write a poem in the "Form of the Week" on Thursdays.  So here is the latest of my finds with a whole lot of assistance from Dave. 

The 160 is a writing exercise more than a poetic technique or form. I was excited to find a Dutch connection to poetic form and apparently this is an exercise used in Dutch poetry workshops. I don't know how helpful this would be in honing our skills as poets but it is something new. The exercise simply asks that you write a poem in 160 characters including space and punctuation. That means counting each letter of each word. Obviously it will be short.

Example by Bianca      Wings by Judi Van Gorder

The Argonelles is an invented stanzaic form that I have been unable to find the source.  There are 2 interpretations of the frame, one demonstrated at WCD by Neva aka Prosperous Snow as a simple syllabic rhymed quintain.  The other version which I believe is the older one is found at Rainbow Communications and it uses two refrains. 
The elements of the Argonelles as demonstrated at WCD are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quintains. (5 line stanzas)
  2. syllabic, syllables per line are 2-6-8-8-6
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme xabba xcddc xeffe  x being unrhymed

    The Chase is On by Judi Van Gorder

    Fall TV by Judi Van Gorder

The elements of the Argonelles as demonstrated by Linda Vernall Smith at Rainbow Communications are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quintains.
  2. syllabic, syllables per line are 2-6-8-8-6
  3. rhymed,  rhyme scheme ABccB  ADeeD  AFggF etc
  4. The first line of each stanza is a repeated refrain from L1 of the poem.  L5 repeats L2 of each stanza but is not carried over into the next stanza.

    Today's Molly Adventure by Judi Van Gorder

Garden Lace is an invented form created by Roseille at WDC in response to a challenge to create a poem with interlocking rhymed tercets. Roseille is fast becoming one of my new favorite poets because of her creativity and her flawless rhythm. The elements of Garden Lace are:

  1. written in any number of tercets.
  2. syllabic, L1 & L2 8 syllables each, L3 14 syllables. Optional:  L1 & L2 of each tercet is iambic tetrameter, L3 is iambic heptameter. 
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme, aba bcb cdc ded and so on.
    Winter Garden

Winter Garden

In winter darkness blooms of white
crocus mock, in pure merriment,
the bleak and cold landscape. A pilot of light in the night.

With saffron stigma, testament
of her value beyond the sight
of beauty in blight, with grace she offers her sacrament. 
                             ~~Judi Van Gorder

Octet is an invented form introduced by Dr. Laura Andersson. It is simply a diminishing octave.  The elements of the Octet are:

  1. an octastich, a poem in 8 lines.
  2. syllabic, 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 syllables per line.
  3. unrhymed.
  4. variable and can be written as a mirror or can be reversed.

    Gunman Kills 11 by Judi Van Gorder
    Fire Season  by Judi Van Gorder

The Onzain (French) or Onzijn (Dutch onze means eleven} is an invented form, the Dutch version of which is attributed to a Drs. P. The form apparently originated in France and this is all I could find about the French version of the form. The verse form is pretty simple, it is all about the number eleven. The elements of the Onzain or Onzijn are:

  1. a poem in eleven lines.
  2. syllabic, each line is eleven syllables.
  3. rhymed, the Dutch rhyme scheme is a-b-c-b-c-d-c-d-a-e-e, (I can only guess that the French rhyme scheme may be different since this scheme was specified as the Dutch version.)

Punnett, an invented verse form created by Marc Ant in response to a challenge to create a new verse form based on your occupation. Being a biology teacher, Marc based the form on the ratios in a "punnet square". (Punnett squares are used in Biology to assess the ratio of possible genotypic outcomes when crossing traits among a species.) The elements of the Punnett are:

  1. a poem in 9 lines.
  2. unmetered, counts words per line 1-2-1-2-4-2-1-2-1
  3. unrhymed
  4. theme must be in the biological realm.
  5. composed with the first word being part of the last word.
  6. centered on the page.

    Example Poem    Udder Elixir by Judi Van Gorder

Revanche (French - revenge) is an American, invented, stanzaic form created by David Hirt.  The defining feature of the Revanche is the alternating rhymeless quatrains with the rhymed couplets.   The elements of the Revanche are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of alternating quatrains and couplets.
  2. metric, iambic tetrameter. There is a variation which is written in 4 sets of alternating quatrains and couplets. The first set of quatrain and couplet are iambic tetrameter, the following 3 sets are written L1 thru L3 of each quatrain is tetrameter, L4 is iambic trimeter, the couplets are iambic tetrameter.
  3. rhymed, the quatrains are unrhymed and the couplets are rhymed. xxxx aa xxxx bb xxxx cc etc. x being unrhymed. (Note: the discription at Writing.com desribes the quatrains as "loosely Blank Verse" referring to the fact that the lines of the quatrain are unrhymed, this could be misleading. Lack of rhyme is only one feature of Blank Verse. Blank verse is always iambic pentatmeter.

Rondel Grand An invented form by Victoria Sutton or Passionspromise at Writing.com. I'm unsure why this takes the name of Rondel since the stanza, rhyme, refrain and syllable patterns are not similar. (other than the first 4 lines are 8 syllables) It is still a fun form to give a try. The elements of the Rondel Grand are:

  1. stanzaic, written in minimum of 3 quintains.
  2. syllabic, L1-L4 8 syllables each, L5 is 6 syllables.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababR cdcdR,etc.
  4. written with L5 repeating as L5 in each subsequent stanza.

Rondel Grand Modified is a modification of the above Rondel Grand, created by Twila Colville / tucknits at writing.com. It changes the Rondel Grand rhyme scheme from alternating to rhymed couplets and changes the the refrain from repeating the entire L5 to breaking L5 into two 3 syllable phrases and gives the poet the option of repeating only 1 phrase at either the beginning or end of the 6 syllable L5 in subsequent stanzas. The elements of the Rondel Grand Modified are:

  1. stanzaic, written in a minimum of 2 cinquains, preferably more.
  2. syllabic, L1-L4 are 8 syllables each, L5 is 6 syllables.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme aabbR, ccddR, etc.
  4. written with a refrain which includes the repetition of 3 consecutive syllables from L5 of the first stanza at either the beginning or end of L5 of subsequent stanzas.

     Joe's Words

    All his life my young brother wrote
    For love, work and family both;
    He would say “utter amusement,”
    But this prose needs no inducement
    From his pen, thoughts inspired.

    No words dared retire or impend;
    Old terms, new ideas he penned.
    Eccentric gems of dialect,
    His views seldom scribed direct;
    From his pen, prose tumbled.

    Three eulogies, oft he did quote
    "Four too many", sadly he wrote.
    I would agree; I heard him pray,
    "Goodbye's impossible to say;"
    From his pen, memories.

    Though afar his deep work I read,
    Never once did my lone voice plead;
    To praise his aggrieved wordsmith’s scree,
    His stories captivated me.
    From his pen, no debris.

    “We grow too old too soon and too
    late too smart”, sage old phrase rings true;
    Losing him reminds my heart of
    Its wisdom nous; lost sibling love
    From his pen, pained adieu.
                           ~~Twila Colville

Ronka is an invented verse form shared by Dave Schneider @ WCD which he found at Wordpress.com  created by Ken Ronkowitz. The form is Ken’s combination of the haiku, and tanka with a little bit of himself thrown in. Basically it is a 5 line poem made up of 7 words (not syllables) each. He takes it a step closer to the haiku and infuses a touch of the season and ego-less-ness. The elements of the ronka are:

  1. a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines
  2. unmetered, each line is made up of 7 Words (not syllables)
  3. a season or a seasonal symbol is infused into the poem
  4. draws emotion from the image rather than the poet.


    Federal parks closed, government workers go unpaid,
    this Christmas, groceries, dolls and toy trains
    will be sparse for four hundred thousand,
    held hostage to five billion dollar wall.
    What happened to promised, “Mexico will pay”?
                                     ~~ Judi Van Gorder

Sidlak means "shine" in Cebuano, a language of Northern Mindanao, Philippine Islands.  It is a verse form that has appeared over the last 5 years in blogs at Word Press. It seems Shambhavi Bhardwaj first introduced it there. But because of the Filipino source of the name and he does not take credit for its creation, it's source is still a mystery to me.  Shambhavi's description of the form however, has been quoted exactly whenever the form appears online so far.  I break it down a little differently here.  I have searched the internet and the Philippine and Indian Poetry sections of the New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics to find some reference to the form without success. 

Because of the above research and especially because the last line syllable count is left to the discretion of the poet in lieu of a "color". I am pretty sure this is a recently invented form.

There is a question whether the last line must be confined to a color only or the color can be the focus of a phrase. The oldest sidlaks I could find use the color in a phrase. However the poems I've read limiting the last line to the color only were very effective. I think given the two options, what ever works best for your poem is the correct answer.

The elements of the Sidlak are:

  1. a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  2. syllabic, 3-5-7-9- L5 syllable count is at discretion of the poet.
  3. L5 presents a COLOR that portrays the whole poem or the feelings of the writer without syllable count restriction.  

       President George H.W. Bush   

Nation's pride
respected leader
passes to the other side
  he lived well, led with integrity  
wrapped in red, white and blue
                                                     ~~Judi Van Gorder            


Since you left
clouds darken the sky,
the old dog mopes on the porch,
and waking without you, the days are
                              ~~Judi Van Gorder


The Skinny is a verse form originally found at Word Press created by African American poet, Truth Thomas in the Tony Medina Poetry Workshop at Howard University.  The intent of the form is to create "a vivid image with as few words as possible".  The elements of the Skinny are:

  1. a verse form in 11 lines.
  2. unmetered. The measure is the line and the word.
  3. L1 can be any length although shorter lines are preferable. L11 is a repeat of L1 although it can change  in word arrangement, in tense or variations of root words. 
  4. L2 thru L10 are single words.  L2, L6 and L10 are the same word.

    Poet's Magic

    A poem is just words in lines
    is words in lines, just a poem.
               ~~Judi Van Gorder

The Solage is another one found by Dave.  Created by poet, teacher, Cameron Semmens and discovered at How to write your own sogage, these are fun to write and can be addicting.  The elements of the Solage are:

  1.  a tristich, a poem in 3 lines.
  2.  rhymed, L1 and L2 rhyme, L3 is unrhymed
  3.  composed with 2 short lines followed by a single word 3rd line.
  4.  L1 and L2 can be parallels with L3 related to both
  5.  L3 should be sort of like a punchline.

    It's so cold
    and I'm getting old.


The TriVail was created by J.lynn Sheridan in response to a poetic form challenge as demonstrated on her blog Writing on the Sun.  She says it is loosely based on the monostich, which is simply a poem in a single line.  I believe the connection is in reference to each couplet should be complete and should  be able to stand alone as a poem.  Maybe a better reference would be the ghazal.

The elements of the TriVail are:

  1. stanzic, written in six couplets followed by a tercet. Each couplet should be complete, never enjambed to the next couplet.  Each couplet should be able to stand alone as a poem but relate in some way to the couplet before, similar to the ghazal .
  2. syllabic, 3-7 3-7 3-7 3-7 3-7 3-7 3-3-3, each couplet has lines of three and seven syllables, and all three lines of the tercet have three syllables each.
  3. rhymed,  the couplets can be either rhymed ab ab ab ab ab ab or aa bb cc dd ee ff , the tercet is unrhymed.
  4. composed with repeating one word from L1 somewhere in the subsequent couplets and again in the tercet.
  5. composed with a theme based on relationships of any kind

    The Tribe by Judi Van Gorder

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Trivail  without the one word repetition.

The  Tribe

Only son,
four grandkids create my sun.

Babies done,
sisters, three and brother, one.

love, fears, laughter, always we.                                            

Rebel teens
support younger boy and tween.

Have your back,
should never attack the pack.

Lots of fun
gather, share, the day is won.    

Fill my world,
a joyful

The Skinny

Poet's Magic

A poem is just words in lines
is words in lines, just a poem.
           ~~Judi Van Gorder







~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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The 160


I scribble a word,   
watch a bird    
in flight on it's way    
whether jay,      
eagle, raven or wren. 
I will my pen,                
soar with their grace,          
the courage to fly,      
no reason why.  
           ~~Judi Van Gorder 

So much harder than it looks,                      
an exercise in paring down.



Udder Elixir

silky, smooth
and tasty
great addition to coffee
skimmed from
of cow's




~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Fall TV

Fall season has arrived
Cliffhangers are finally resolved
New show doubts summarily solved                            
The same old themes revived.

I will write a poem
right after this drama is done
I have to see who lost or won,
networks pay to show them.

Free me
from this temporary
addiction that pulls me away
from everything to sit and stay
in this cemetery.
         ~~Judi Van Gorder


Fire Season

October winds fan fierce fire storm
fueled by dry grass and plant life
long summer set the stage
flames force folks to flee
blaze lights night sky
choking smoke
hot ash 








~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Verse Form: Solage


It's so cold
and I'm getting old.


You make me smile,
please stay awhile.


Challenges soar,
never a bore.


Love to hug
my Snugglebug.


This is fun,
feel I've won.


I keep going
ever knowing


Gotta stop
word swap.


I'll be back,
take another whack.


budding rose
running nose


Another day,
a chance to pray
~ gift

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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