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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Korean Verse

Sijo, is the most popular and versatile of the Korean forms. It was originally chanted or sung with musical accompaniment. The word Sijo meant "music" but over time the definition was broadened to include the lyrics. The rhythm is formed by an ordered sequence of syllabic phrases.

Korean poetry can be found as far back as the 15th century. This is about the time the Korean scholars began using Korean characters rather than Chinese characters to write their poetry. The first were written by the "lettered class and women entertainers". But by the 2nd half of the 15th century it became the poetry of the commoners.

The elements of the Sijo are:

  1. syllabic verse, although the phrase, not the syllable is the rhythm of the line. Total syllable count can vary from 44 to 46.
  2. written in 3 units,
    • introduction to situation or problem,
    • development of situation (turn),
    • c. strong conclusion (twist)
  3. written in any number of  3 or 6 line stanzas. (usually translations are written in 6 lines)
  4. an interplay of the sound, rhythm and meaning is the core of the sijo.
  5. written with any subject is permissible. It can be frank, humorous, and often satirical.
  6. may use puns, metaphor and other figurative or rhetorical tools.
  7. usually introduces an emphatic division in the last line in the form of a counter theme, paradox, resolution, judgment, command or exclamation shifting the poem to subjectivity.
  8. when written in tercets, the 3 lines are made up of of
    • L1 & L2 written with 4 syllabic phrases (3-4, 3-4. ) 14 syllables. There is a minor pause at the end of the 2nd phrase and major pause at the end of the line.
    • L3 written in 4 syllabic phrase (3-6, 4-3) 16 syllables
  9. when written in sixains, the 6 lines are made up of of:
    • L1 –L4 written in 2 syllabic phrases (3-4) 7 syllables, with a pause at the end of each line.
    • L5 written in 2 syllabic phrases (3-6) 9 syllables
    • L6 written in 2 syllabic phrases (4-3) 7 syllables.


Old Flame Flickered

Who could know we would meet now after decades traveled passed.
Old boyfriend, shopping a quote, walked right in, sat at my desk.
He said his name, fifty-nine years of change, he knew me not, but I knew.
                                                                                 ~~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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