The Cinquain's Rules Cinquains have five lines. They have two syllables in the first line, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and only two in the final. Cinquains do not have to rhyme, although they may if you want to. The most common form of the cinquain is ABBA ABC: A for appreciation, B for benefit, C for commitment.
Cinquains were originally used as prayers or requests for help from saints or angels. Today they are used as greetings, expressions of gratitude, declarations of love, and so on. Whatever you use them for, that's what they're perfect for!
Strictly speaking, a cinquain is a poem with five lines consisting of two pairs of rhymes. But since the term is often used more broadly today to include any poem with five lines, including those that don't follow this strict pattern, we'll use it here too. There are many different variations on the cinquain theme, both ancient and modern. Here are some examples:
Eliot's "Four Quartets" includes one quartet in each of its five sections.
Langston Hughes wrote several poems that include the cinquain structure, such as "Mother to Son."
Charles Simic has written several books of cinquains.
Cinquains from America The American cinquain is a five-line unrhymed literary form defined by the number of syllables in each line (the first line contains two, the second four, the third six, the fourth eight, and the fifth two). A cinquain may include a sixth line for additional syllables (7+ lines = 14). Sometimes the term cinquain is used to describe any poem that forms into these lines (5-7-9-11-3), but usually this term is used to refer specifically to a poem that uses only the numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 as syllable counts. Many languages have words or phrases meaning "cinquain," including French cinqain and Italian cinque anni.
Why do we call this form the American cinquain? Because it originated in the United States. The earliest reference to the cinquain that I could find was in 1922 by Harry Lee Johnson in his book Modern Poetry: Its History and Technique. He calls it the American ten-line stanza because it has become popular among Americans.
Here are the other major languages' names for the cinquain: German Quinquelenart, French Cinq-cantos, Spanish Cinco-canciones, and Russian Petertsiye gody (Peter's Years).
Quintains Come in 8 Varieties Cinquain : A cinquain is a five-line poem or stanza with a strict syllable count for each line. Adelaide Crapsey, an American poet, created this contemporary form. She called it a "closed unit of language." In other words, a cinquain is a complete thought expressed in five lines.
Many people think that cinquains can only contain five words because that's how many lines they are. But the actual number of words in a cinquain is up to you! There are some rules about what can and cannot be used, but you can always write something in a cinquain if you want it to be longer than five lines.
People usually think of cinquains as short poems, but they can also be long ones if you want them to be. There are eight varieties of cinquain, so there is room for any length you like!
The most common variety is the five-line cinquain which contains five words per line with a total word count of 25. But a cinquain can also be three lines or seven lines or any other length you like. There are variances between poets so you may come across different lengths of cinquains written by the same person.
Adelaide Crapsey devised the cinquain, a five-line poem. She was an American poet who was inspired by Japanese haiku and tanka. Verse, a collection of poems, was released in 1915 and comprised 28 cinquains. It is considered one of the earliest examples of what we now call modern poetry.
Cinquain is derived from the French word for "five," which refers to the number of lines that make up a cinquain. A cinquain is a five-line poem composed of pairs of identical stanzas, with a regular rhyme scheme used consistently throughout. The term can be applied to any similar structure of two contrasting or related parts.
The cinquain has been widely adopted as an element of poetry collections since Adelaide Crapsey first introduced it into her work. Although she did not coin the term, it is possible that she invented it. The form has been associated with many other poets including John Donne, Michael Drayton, and Edward Thomas.
Because four pairs of stanzas make up a quatrain and three pairs of stanzas make up a trio, it is easy to see how this form could be extended to create longer poems. In fact, several poets have done just that.
Composing a Cinquain Poem
Encyclopaedia Britannica's Editors View and modify the history. Cinquain is a five-line poem. Adelaide Crapsey (1878–1914), an American poet, used the name to describe a five-line poem form with a unique metre that she invented. She published two collections of cinquains.
Cinquain is an eight-line poetic form derived from the quintain, a medieval game played with a bent pinioned stave called a yew ("qu" in French). The player trying to break a wooden peg held by a knight would give him a line of poetry as payment if he failed. The pegs were often carved with images of saints and the lines usually ended with a rhyme or alliteration. The term "cinquain" comes from the French word quinze, which means "fifteen". Cinquains are popular among poets who write about 15-line poems for money.
In modern usage, a cinquain is any group of five lines. They are most commonly found in encyclopedias and other reference books where they are used as headings to sections of content. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a cinquain as a "five-line poem", and gives as examples from Shakespeare and Milton. It also notes that the term is now often applied to any group of five lines that serves to divide content within a larger work.