Monday, September 9, 2013

Cinquain Day for 2013

Cinquain Day for 2013

Good Morning:

Today is Cinquain Day, referring to what is also called the ‘Crapsey Cinquain’ or, sometimes, the ‘American Cinquain’.  It is a form created by Adelaide Crapsey early in the 20th century.  It is a five-line form with the syllable count as follows: 2-4-6-8-2, for a total of 22 syllables.

It is an attractive form.  Personally, I find it to be a greater challenge than the more well-known, and more widely dispersed, syllabic haiku.  For me, the last line, of 2 syllables, carries a lot of weight; if that last line is not successful, it undermines the entire poem.

But it is also a rewarding form to write in.  And there exists now a substantial quantity of Cinquain poetry.  As a form, it appears to have found its modest place in the world of English language verse.

For those interested in this form I would like to recommend two publications: the anthologies produced by Amaze magazine for the years 2006 and 2007.  Amaze was a journal devoted to the Cinquain which published from, I believe, 2002 or 2001, through 2007.  It was an excellent publication and I, for one, was disappointed to see it go into hiatus.  But I understand how publishing a poetry magazine can be very time consuming.  And the legacy left by this magazine is fruitful.

In 2006 and 2007 the editor, Deborah Kolodji, gathered the material for those years into these two anthologies.  The anthologies begin with the Cinquain published that year.  Amaze published four times a year and the Cinquain are gathered according to the issue, and then within each alphabetically by author.  After the Cinquain are gathered articles, including book reviews, the history of the Cinquain, and other topics.  These articles are uniformly well-written and informative.

I have read these two anthologies several times.  The Cinquain in the anthologies show a variety of approaches to the form.  Taken together for the aspiring Cinquain poet they offer inspiration and a sense of how the syllabic structure of the Cinquain is treated. 

So if you find yourself attracted to this little jewel of a form, I recommend that you get both of these anthologies.  They are available from

Amaze: The Cinquain Journal
2006 Annual
ISSN: 1935-8849

Amaze: The Cinquain Journal
2007 Annual
ISSN: 1935-8849

Available at

To find these two volumes at lulu, put the word ‘Amaze’ in the ‘search’ function at the top of the page.  The two anthologies will appear five or six items down when the search is done.

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