Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I learned about Sedoka last night over at Joseph Harker's poetry blog, naming constellations, so I wanted to try one. According to, a Sedoka is a poem with the syllabic form 5/7/7 5/7/7, where each stanza (or, more accurately, katauta) comes at the same subject from different perspectives. I thought it would be fun to try one, which is how I came to write Impasse.

such impassive frost
devours heat from my soul
snow-bitten, withered, I lie

you lie before me
imposter, super-imposed
yourself, burnt in effigy

Photo credit: Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic, via flickr // CC BY 2.0


  1. I took a Haiku class at Kent State University and was instructed the form was 5/7/7 which I later found out to be wrong, according to a Hiaku website. This Sedoka reminds of the form but not the zen-like quality. How many stanzas are written? As many as you want? Is this a new form of poetry? It's all very interesting.


  2. Hi Kimberlee:

    As best I can tell, the Sedoka is an ancient form like Haiku, but it's not as popular. I couldn't find very much about it online -- if you find anything about the Sedoka, please point me that way!

    As for this particular Sedoka, you make a good point. I am definitely missing the zen-like quality so common to Eastern poetic forms. I think that I had something interesting to say here, but I just bashed it into this form. I would have been better, I think, writing about something like the lily pad looking at the water, and then the water's perspective on the lily pad.

    I had a lot of trouble writing the Sedoka -- I couldn't quite get inside of the form. I'm at a stage of my writing where I feel like I know a good haiku when I read one (and occasionally, when I write one!) and I understand the form and structure of Fibonacci Sequence poems. But I didn't "get" the Sedoka in this first writing. I could definitely use more practice with the form!

    Thanks for stopping by. :)

  3. If this is your first attempt at a Sedoka, I think you did well. True, any form poem can feel forced until the writer has followed it so much they breathe it. I admire poets who attempt them. But I more admire the thoughts they are trying to say. Form or not, Impasse was thought provoking! I like it very much. I think it is having two stanzas gives me a bit more time to grasp the concepts. Great job!

  4. Hi Patricia: Thanks for the encouragement! I appreciate you stopping by. :)

    I think form poems are interesting in that some forms seem to come more naturally to a poet than others and you can't always predict in advance which form you might like. For example, I never liked haiku until I started writing Scifaiku (science fiction haiku) and suddenly, I had an aha! moment and they began to make sense. Maybe I'll get there someday with the Sedoka.