Cinquain Definition

The modern cinquain is based on a word count of words of a certain type.

Line 1 has one word (the title).
Line 2 has two words that describe the title.
Line 3 has three words that tell the action.
Line 4 has four words that express the feeling
Line 5 has one word which recalls the title.

The traditional cinquain is based on a syllable count. Twenty-Two syllables in the following pattern (2-4-6-8-2) The traditional cinquain is based on a syllable count. It has five lines, and often, one word in the first line, two words in the second line etc.

line 1 - 2 syllables
line 2 - 4 syllables
line 3 - 6 syllables
line 4 - 8 syllables
line 5 - 2 syllables


. The traditional cinquain is based on a syllable count. line 1 - 2 syllables line 2 - 4 syllables line 3 - 6 syllables line 4 - 8 syllables line 5 - 2 syllables The modern cinquain is based on a word count of words of a certain type. line 1 - one word (noun) a title or name of the subject line 2 - two words (adjectives) describing the title line 3 - three words (verbs) describing an action related to the title line 4 - four words describing a feeling about the title, a complete sentence line 5 - one word referring back to the title of the poem

There are more variations of the Cinquain form.


A Cinquain is a type of poem that was originally created by Brooklyn born poet, Adelaide Crapsey. This type of poem utilizes five, non-rhyming line, with different syllables required for each line. The syllable pattern follows this pattern: for line one – two syllables; for line two – four syllables; for line three – six syllables; for line four – eight syllables; and for line five – two syllables again.

The cinquain is considered a type of shape poetry. This is because when you use the proper syllables for each line, a symmetrical, unique shape will be created, from the descriptive and interesting works you use. The actual cinquain is derived from the Latin root for the word “five,” which makes sense since this poem is made up of five lines.

While the traditional cinquain poem utilizes syllables to determine what words to use on each line, there are variations that have been created by modern poets. Some of the most common variations include the reverse cinquain, which basically uses the syllable structure mentioned above in reverse, and the mirror cinquain which is made up of two five-line stanzas, which use the original syllable structure, followed by the reverse syllable structure. 

Cinquain Poem Example

A Threat

Stormclouds,
casting shadows
over weary soldiers,
threaten to cry heavy buckets
of tears.

Poetry © Copyright Suzanne Honour 2002-2003


Guilty
or not guilty
past convictions frustrate
the judge who wonders should your fate
abate.

Leo McGarry

Top 5 Cinquain Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Silent Hearts Goff, James Marshall Cinquainlost love
Premium Member Poem Longing Roberts, Seren Cinquainhope, longing,
Premium Member Poem FLYING HIGH - VISUAL 5 ALLISON, JAN Cinquainfreedom,
Premium Member Poem Cinquain IV Inman, James Cinquainloneliness, sorrow,
Premium Member Poem The One That Survived George , Elaine Cinquaindeath,

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