Form And Microform: The Cinquain & the Three-Part Poem

Form And Microform: The Cinquain & the Three-Part Poem

Look at the minutiae and delicate balances of short-form poetry, exploring how the demands of form can liberate the imagination and refine the ear.

This session will look at the minutiae and delicate balances of the short form, and the role of tone, cadence and imposed necessity, particularly in the cinquain both standing alone as a micro-poem, but also as the basic unit for developing longer work. We will explore how the demands of form can liberate the imagination and refine the ear.

The suggestion is that we may be constrained by line length, rhythm, rhyme, stanza form or something as tiny as a tweet of 140 characters. But by facing the necessity to invent and proportion we discover more than we knew before and find more of ourselves, and the world.

The session will begin with a discussion of the nature and value of constraint and its role in the development of poems then, by referring to the cinquains of the American poet Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914), writing some cinquains ourselves and looking to work a series of them into longer poems. In the course of doing so we will think a little about the narrative construction of poems and see how that might inform the adventure of writing poetry.

This course is a half-day workshop running 2 – 4:30pm on Tuesday 24 July and is part of our Summer School. To find out more about the courses in the Summer School, please see here.

Image credit: ‘Andrea Hale’

About George Szirtes View Profile

George Szirtes was born in Hungary in 1948 and came to England as a refugee in 1956. He published his first book of poems, The Slant Door, in 1979. It won the Faber Memorial Prize and has published many others since including Reel (2004), which was awarded the T S Eliot Prize for which The Burning of the Books (2009) and Bad Machine (2013) were also shortlisted.  He has won various prizes for his translations from the Hungarian, including the Man Booker International translator’s prize for his work on László Krasznahorkai. His book of poems for children In the Land of the Giants, was awarded the CLPE Prize in 2013.  Originally trained as a painter, he has collaborated with various artists and with a number of composers on operas, oratorios and songs. His New and Collected Poems appeared in 2008.

The Poetry School has given me more confidence and valuable experience with a variety of courses to choose from. The teachers are top quality and the material is excellent.’

– Spring 2018 survey response

Related Courses