5 Recently Developed Types of Poetry

July 25, 2022

Typewriter next to Scrabble tiles that spell out "poetry." Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com.

Hey folks!

Back to our regularly scheduled Monday posts 🙂

While doing research for last week’s 10 Types of Poetry You Might Not Have Heard Of post, I stumbled across a couple of forms that were developed pretty recently (like the Singaporean found/fount sonnet, developed in 2017, that was featured in said post). That got me thinking – what other forms are relatively new to the world?

Here are five that I came across that I find interesting.

Cleave Poetry (Dr. Phuoc-Tan Diep, 2006)

This is the style that made me want to write this post in the first place. Some styles are just satisfying to read, and you almost feel an added, second-hand satisfaction on the poet’s behalf when you read a particularly good one.

The Cleave poem was invented by Dr. Phuoc-Tan Diep as a reflection of his dichotomic identity – “two poems fusing to become a new third poem.” Each cleave poem can be read three ways: first along the left portion of each line; second along the right portion of each line; and, finally, the poem as an entirety, each line read as a complete one. (There are a couple of great examples at the bottom of this post.)

I love that he chose to call them cleave poems because of the dual meaning of cleave: it means both “divide” or “separate” and “adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly” (Merriam-Webster).

Sources: Cleave Poetry and Lit Reactor.

Diamante (Iris Tiedt, 1969)

This is a specific kind of shape poem (literally a poem that makes a shape on the page) made of seven lines that form a diamond. The concept of the style is to use it to explore antonyms or contrasting ideas, or to explore synonyms. A standard diamante is made up of the following:

Adjective, adjective
Verb, verb, verb
Noun, noun, noun, noun
Verb, verb, verb
Adjective, adjective

See the rough outline of a diamond?

The two nouns are the opposites being contrasted throughout the middle. The words up to and including the second noun in line four describe the top noun, while the rest describe the second.

Sources: Poem Analysis and ThoughtCo.

Etheree (Etheree Taylor Armstrong, possibly invented sometime in the 1970s)

Developed by Arkansas poet Etheree Taylor Armstrong, the Etheree is made up of ten lines, starting with a one-syllable line and progressing to a ten-syllable line. It focuses on a single subject and does not rhyme. Alternatives are a Reverse Etheree (starting with ten syllables and working down to one) and a Double, or Stacked, Etheree. This last form comes in two variants: two standard Etherees on top of each other, or a standard on top of a Reverse.

Sources: Owlcation, Poets Collective, Poetry Soup, and Writing.com.

Hainka (Pravat Kumar Padhy, 2016)

A hainka is a combination of the Japanese forms haiku and tanka. As a quick overview:

The haiku is, at least in English, made up of three lines following the syllable count 5-7-5*. What we aren’t usually taught when trying these out in second grade is that these poems generally contract two images or subjects compared with what’s called a “keen,” or an observation. Traditionally, it touches on nature or a natural reference and an emotion.

The tanka is quite similar, but still its own style. As far as syllables go, it’s 5-7-5-7-7*. Like the haiku, it contains a turn partway through; here, in the third line. While haiku deals with nature, tanka focuses on emotions – originally gratitude and love, though now the main goal is to evoke any sort of profound emotion. So, when making one, make sure the first two lines deal with an experience or emotion, the third an observation of that emotion that creates a shift, and end with two lines that explore the deeper meaning of that experience and realization.

Now that we’ve got that sorted.

In 2016, Pravat Kumar Padhy combined the two forms into their own. When counting syllables, it’s 5-7-5, 5-7-5-7-7 (so, syllabically, a haiku and then a tanka). In a hainka, the two main elements that are explored in the other forms – nature and emotions – are incorporated. By exploring an aspect of nature in the haiku, you’re able to compare it with the experience/emotion in the tanka (done through “image-linking,” where one of the lines in the haiku is repeated in the third or fourth line of the tanka).

This is what the creator had to say about it: “I wish that the new verse will entwine the art of gratitude encompassing nature, living beings, non-living beings, and humanity as a whole.”

*Note that the syllable counts aren’t always adhered to. The most important thing to remember is that the ones traditionally made of five syllables need to be shorter than the ones traditionally made of seven!

Sources: Writer’s Digest.

Kwansaba (Eugene B. Redmond, 1995)

As suggested by the name, this style was inspired by Kwanzaa. It celebrates African American culture through seven lines styled into a praise poem. Since Kwanzaa honours seven principles (unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith), each of the seven lines contains seven words, and none of those words can exceed seven letters. It’s non-rhyming, and the poems praise African American culture, family, and the principles the celebration upholds.

Sources: Poetry Soup and Writer’s Digest.

What do you think? Any of these catch your eye?

Published by Kaila Desjardins

Freelance editor, fiction writer, proud nerd.

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