photo-2I spent the day with writers of all genres: freelance, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, memoir… I was surprised at the dozens who arrived this morning and very pleased that we still had a full house by the time of our third panel presentation. Who knew there were so many writers here??

We ended the day on Poetry Panel with a writing exercise. My fellow poet Thomas Harper led us through three lesser-known structures: American Cinquain, Sevenling, and Snam Suad. We had 15 minutes to write. These are mine. They don’t have titles yet—I write those last. So far they’re called by their types.

I wanted to eat pizza
But instead had a salad
I put French fries on top

The barkeep poured
and set another beer on the rail
And didn’t think twice

I know I’m home

(I was getting hungry–and thinking about the salads in Pittsburgh.) Sevenling: seven non-rhyming lines split into three stanzas. The first two stanzas are 3 lines each and contain an element repeated 3 times. The final stanza is one line in length and connects the stanzas by summary or even punch line.

American Cinquain:
Drove past
the old homestead
A new name on the door
No longer mine, I turn away
I weep

American Cinquain: five non-rhyming lines, syllable counts of 2,4,6,8,2.

Snam Suad:

In the midst
of power,
Wielding sword
I lay my
weapon down
strength within

Snam Suad was my favorite: Celtic origin, eight lines long, three syllables per line, and lines four and eight only have one word each.

Some writers find structure to be too constraining. Between you and me, I find it thrilling.

My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon. I’ll sign it for you.