What is a Cinquain?
A cinquain – which, by the way, is pronounced “sin-cane,” not “sin-kwane” – is a form of poetry that is very popular because of its simplicity. It was created by American poet Adelaide Crapsey about 100 years ago, and is similar to Japanese poetic forms, such as haiku and tanka.
Cinquains are just five lines long, with only a few words on each line, making them easy to write. The first and last lines have just two syllables, while the middle lines have more, so they end up with a diamond-like shape, similar to the poetic form called the diamante.
Though they are just five lines long, the best cinquains tell a small story. Instead of just having descriptive words, they may also have an action (something happening), a feeling caused by the action, and a conclusion or ending.
You can learn to write cinquains by following these few simple steps:
- Decide what you would like to write about.
- Brainstorm words and phrases that have to do with your idea.
- Think about what story you want to tell.
- Write your words and phrases in an order that tells your story, being sure to count the syllables as you go.