The Writers' Greenhouse
Meddling with Poetry: poetry-writing course

Nifty little quickie poems

To celebrate the new Meddling with Poetry course starting in February 2019, I'm sharing 16 delicious poetry forms, counting down to the course. See all the poem forms in the Poetry Advent Calendar so far, or read on for a selection of nifty little quickie forms.

Elevenie: the eleven-worder

A nifty little quickie, just 11 words total:
1 word: a noun
2 words: what it does
3 words: where it is
4 words: further explanation
1 word: a feeling about all this

Variation: for a fun / silly group game, try playing these "Consequence" style: each person writes a line, folds their paper, and passes it on.

Read more about it and an example.

Triolet: maximum recycling

Like your first two lines? Just keep using them!
new line, rhymes with first line
new line, rhymes with first line
new line, rhymes with second line

Read more about it and an example.

Cinquain: the tiny five-liner

Fancy French poetry-speak for a "fivey": each line longer then the last one short.
Line 1: 2 syllables
Line 2: 4 syllables
Line 3: 6 syllables
Line 4: 8 syllables
Line 5: 2 syllables

Read more about it and an example.

Rubliw: basically a brontosaurus

Like a Brontosaurus, this poem is thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle, and then thin again.

The first line has 2 syllables, the next 4, then 6, then 8, then 10 Ė then it goes back down to 8, then 6, then 4, then 2.

Read more about it and an example.

Nonet: from 9 syllables to none

An elegant quickie that tails away to a vanishing point. The first line has 9 syllables, the next 8, then 7, and so on down to 1.


Read more about it and an example.

Katauta: the haiku in love

This is basically a haiku but itís in love (or written to a lover) and you can have 2 extra syllables if you want them:
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 or 7 syllables
You can also write a series of them, as a conversation between lovers.

Read more about it and an example.

Quintilla: the rhyming five-liner

A Spanish five-liner with plenty of rhyme. You have five lines, each with 8 syllables. Use 2 rhymes throughout, and donít end on a rhyming couplet.

That gives you lots of possible rhyme schemes: ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba. Just donít end aa or bb!

Read more about it and an example.

Pleiades: one letter to rule them all

A starry seven-liner, named for the Seven Sisters star cluster. Pick a one-word title, and start each of the seven lines with the same letter as the title. As a nod to the palest star, you can also make each line just six syllables.

Read more about it and an example.

Want more? Try the full Poetry Advent Calendar and remember, a new poem door opens every Saturday. The Meddling with Poetry course starts in February 2019 and explores a host of different poetry forms, as well as the musicality of language, poetic imagery, and other aspects of the poetic.

The course is 8 weeks long, 1 evening a week, 7:00pm–9:30pm. You can book for Wednesday evenings (6 Feb – 27 Mar 2019) or Thursday evenings (7 Feb – 28 Mar 2019). It costs £240 total (payable in instalments, including a £40 deposit) and runs in Upper Wolvercote, Oxford.

Absolute beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome.

Read more details and book a place here
See the full list of courses and workshops

Poetry course, coming soon


Tuesday evenings
5 May – 23 Jun 2020
Thursday evenings
7 May – 25 Jun 2020


Upper Wolvercote (North Oxford). There's free parking, a great bus route (#6), and beautiful canal-side walking routes.


£240 total for 8 weeks, payable in instalments with a £40 deposit

To book

Email me for a booking form and let me know whether you'd prefer the Wednesday or Thursday evenings.






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