As poets, what do we think of when the Orient is mentioned? Most would think of Haiku and perhaps Tanka, but after that most would scratch their heads.

By definition the Orient begins in the East of the Mediterranean and includes Asia especially SE Asia, and if we ignore modern names and think of Persia, and we start to enter the world of the poet and as we travel further East we see a world rich in poetry.

Too often, we forget that Western poetry was far slower in emerging and very often was for a privileged few, whereas in most cases Eastern poetry was used by all classes and both sexes. With the spread of Islam through the East, the origin of some poetic forms may be in doubt, but is that really important?

Not only was Islam leaving its poetic mark, at the same time there was a movement of Buddhists, Hindus and Chinese throughout SE Asia and these four major philosophies have left their marks on the poetic culture throughout SE Asia.

As a presenter of poetic form I will try and give you a little background into each of these forms.

Quick guide to forms

(for more information click on the form)

Middle East: Persia
Ghazal A series of couplets... In the first couplet both lines use same word... In subsequent stanzas the last word of second line is repeated
Mathnawi Rhyme scheme, a. a... b. b... c. c. etc
normally consists of 11 syllable lines
Occasionaly 10 or 12.
Muzdawidj or (Arabian Mathnawi) Rhyme scheme, a. a. a... b. b. b... c. c. c. etc
normally consists of 11 syllable lines
Occasionaly 10 or 12.
Rubaiyat Lines 1, 2, and 4 rhyme

Third line sets rhyme for the following stanza

S.E.Asia: Myanmar (Burma)
Than Bauk O. O. O. a.
O. O. a. O.
O. a. O. b. 4 Syllable lines
Ya Du First 3 lines, O. O. O. a. . . O. O. a. O. . . O. a. O. b.
Fourth line O. O. b. c. . . . Fifth line O. O. O. O. c.
The fifth line may comprise 5. 7. 9. 11 syllables
Each A Complete Stanza No More Than 3 Permitted

S.E.Asia: Malaysia
Empat Empat Rhyme Scheme A1, b, a, b.... c, A1, c, a....
.... a, d, A1, d....e, a, e, A1
usually 8 or 10 syllables
Pantoum Rhyme Scheme A1, B1, A2, B2, ... B1, C1, B2, C2, etc,
last stanza being Z1, A2, Z2, A1,
usually 8 or 10 syllables

S.E.Asia: Cambodia
Pathya Vat Four Syllables, only lines 2 and 3 rhyme.
More than one stanza, the two middle lines rhyme with previous stanza
Go Vat X.X.X.X.X.X.X.a

S.E.Asia: Viet Nam
Luc Bat X.X.X.X.X.A.
X.X.X.X.X.B. etc
Song That Luc Bat Lines 1 and 2. seven syllable couplet
Lines 3 and 4. normal Luc Bat
See notes inside

Asia: China
24 Styles of Poetry The 24 Styles of Poetry, as suggested by Sikong Tu.

Asia: Korea
Sijo 3. 4. 3. 4.
3. 4. 3. 4.
3. 6. 4. 3.......44 Syllables

Asia: Japan
Katuata 19 Syllables, 5. 7. 7.
Later 17 Syllables, 5. 7. 5
Choka At first ... 5. 7. 7. 5. 7. 7. etc
Later ... 5. 7. 5. 5. 7. 5. etc
Tanka 5. 7. 5. 7. 7.
Somonka... 5. 7. 5. 7. 7. ... 5. 7. 5. 7. 7.
Haiku, Renga, Senryu 5. 7. 5.

Soun School TBF


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