Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Writing Poetry Some Methods

Part of Families

Method One: Writing a Tercet

In a tercet, every other line rhymes. A tercet is a form of poetry that has three-line stanzas in which the first and third lines rhyme. The second line is a blank, unrhymed line. Most poets string multiple tercets together to form a poem.

Here's an example by poet Percy Shelley, excerpted from the poem, Ode to the West Wind:

The winged seed, where they lie cold and low,

Each like a corpse within its grave, until

Thin azure sister of Spring shall blow.

Method Two: Writing a Cinquain

A cinquain is a poem made from a five-line formula. The cinquain is similar to a Japanese haiku. US poet Adelaide Crapsey invented it in the early 1900s. It is composed of five lines. Each line has a certain number of words or syllables and an assigned "subject." Here's the formula:

Line One:Subject NameOne word or two syllables

Line Two:DescriptionTwo words or four syllables

Line Three:ActionThree words or six syllables

Line Four:DescriptionFour words or eight syllables

Line Five:SummationOne word or two syllables

Here is a cinquain from Adelaide Crapsey, in which she used syllables as the count:

Listen . . .

With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the tree,

And fall.

Here is a cinquain in which the poet used words as the count:


Stormy blue

Crashing, pulling, foaming

A primitive beach companion


Method Three: Found Poetry: A Poem Created from Existing Text

Found poetry is created by reworking existing material, like newspaper text, directions handbooks, plans, and so on. To create this kind of poetry, the poet takes a section of a text and reparses it so that it reads as poetry. The process of parsing, breaking text into small meaning chunks, allows the poet to create different emphasis. Poet Annie Dillard wrote a book of found poetry. One of the wonderful aspects of found poetry is that it helps us see the inherent poetry of everyday texts.

The following is a piece of found poetry that the writer created from the text on a deodorant label.



Protection for your


Life contains time-released odor and sweat

Fighters that work


To keep you

Fresher and drier than ever