Prompts: Cinquain and Mobius Strip

I’m assigning two prompts today to my poetry workshop. The first is to write a cinquain, a form similar to a haiku. The version I’m demonstrating is a counting of syllables, like this:

  • 2 syllables
  • 4 syllables
  • 6 syllables
  • 8 syllables
  • 2 syllables

For a great example of this form, see Adelaide Crapsey’s November Night. For me, keeping the poem focused on one image is just as important as counting the syllables.

mobiusstripThe second “form” is not a formal structure, but an idea to write a mobius strip poem. You know, when you take a strip of paper, twist it once, and tape it closed. If you run your pencil along the strip, it will eventually end up traversing the entire surface, and ending up exactly where it began.  How can you write something like this? You want to end up the same place where you started (perhaps by repeating a line or refrain) but there is a turn along the way, so something new is gained by the time you return. The inspiration for this “form” is Mark Strand’s The Tunnel (one of my favorite poems). Enjoy your writing!

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