Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Writing Exercise - Cinquain


As I’ve mentioned before, when I’m teaching creative writing, I tend to return to poetry exercises. Writing to the restraints of a strict poetic form requires a degree of mental discipline. Limited numbers of syllables, or the need for rephrasing to meet the demands of a rhyme scheme, often encourages writers to think about words in ways that aren’t familiar to those who focus solely on prose writing.

Which is my way of saying that I’ve got another poetry assignment for those brave enough to rise to the challenge. This month I thought we could look at the cinquain.

The cinquain is a five line poetic form that can be attempted in one of two ways. The traditional form is based on a syllable count as illustrated below.

line 1 - 2 syllables
line 2 - 4 syllables
line 3 - 6 syllables
line 4 - 8 syllables
line 5 - 2 syllables

Naked
Two lithe bodies
Press kisses together
Swift sigh moan shriek roar yes Yes YES!
Sated

For those who like to break away from tradition, the modern form of the cinquain is not dependent on such devices as counting syllables.


partner
perfect, passionate
dancing, sleeping, dreaming,
yang to my yin
lover

I strongly advocate exercises like this as the perfect way to preface any bout of writing. Athletes tell us we should never participate in sports without first doing some form of warm-up exercise. Musicians practice scales before performing. Doesn’t it make sense that a writer should practice their craft before teasing the right words onto the page?

If you have the time to try writing a cinquain, either traditional or modern, please leave your poem(s) in the comments box below. It’s always good to read fresh work inspired by these exercises and I hope you have fun with this one.

16 comments:

  1. As always I love the writing exercises you post. And I'm so envious of people who can actually write poetry. Such a density of language.

    Anyway, here's what I came up with.

    blowjob
    wet, willing
    lick, suck, kneel
    the perfect submissive act
    swallow

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  2. I have recently got into writing poetry and love these sort of challenges. Here's my offering.

    Flirting
    In your bedroom,
    Kissing and caressing,
    Shyly undressing each other,
    Then bed!

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  3. CJ

    There's no need for poetry envy when you can write cinquains as well as that.

    I think this one is stylish and effective.


    Graham X,

    This managed to combine sauciness with a chaste quality. The conclusion made me smile - which is not bad going for five lines of poetry.

    Ash

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  4. I rarely write poetry, but you've persuaded me to give this a try. A traditional cinquain from a newbie, then:

    devour'd
    progressively
    with sharpened tooth and eye
    a carnal feast for the famished
    then tea

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  5. aching
    deep down inside
    warmth: tongue cock fingers lips
    soft to touch reach kiss coax. please come?
    begging

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  6. RG

    The pragmatic simplicity of that conclusion is so typical of your writing style.

    Moon Jumping Cow
    As you get to the penultimate line of your poem, it seems like each word was written as a breathless pant.

    There really are some damned good poets visit this blog :-)

    Ash

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  7. Okay, Ash,

    Here's my feeble attempt at a traditional cinquain. The new fangled style seems MUCH more difficult.

    --------

    Palm poised
    Over bared flesh
    Every nerve sparks hot
    Remembered sting brings new pleasure
    Waiting


    Your exercises are a real challenge!

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  8. Lisabet,

    Thank you. There's a delightful air of anticipation in your poem that really makes it work.

    And if there was no challenge - there would be no benefit in the exercise!

    Ash

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  9. David in Vegas led me here. What fun!

    Heated
    slick'd skin, striped
    cotton rope, sweat soaked
    curv'd spine takes his weight, carnal bliss
    Begging

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  10. Please pass on our thanks to David in Vegas:

    In reading these to fit with the syllable count I had to pronounce striped as stripe-PED and soaked as soak-KED. Because both of these words fell at the end of lines, (matching the heat-TED of the opening line) it gave the poem a very distinct voice.

    Thanks for posting your poem.

    Ash

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  11. Monkey's Journey -

    Whoever David in Vegas is... I like your poem!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What an interesting form to work in, thanks for the challenge:

    captured
    held immobile
    kinked, inked, pinked
    waiting for further attention
    bound

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  13. David,

    Thanks for rising to the challenge. I don't doubt there will be poets reading this who will be extremely jealous over your line 'kinked, inked, pinked' and will be repeating the words like a mantra.

    Ash

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  14. I wrote two - the traditional and the new. Enjoyed reading everyone's poems!

    Nipples
    Firm and erect
    Aroused by sudden sounds
    Twin peaks edging above her breasts
    Eager

    Blowjob
    Warm, wet
    Licking, nibbling, suckling
    He clenches his hands
    Thankful

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  15. Anon,

    Two delightful poems.

    The second one (probably because the middle line is verb heavy) really manages to capture the excitement of sexual intimacy.

    Ash

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  16. Needlework

    Drape me
    On the table
    Your sowing machine cock
    Gathers and embroiders my cunt
    Compleat

    ReplyDelete

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