Poetry Friday: Form and Function

The Inklings’ challenge this month was mine. I was quite taken with the idea of this book: a book about poetry forms and techniques…written in poems. So I challenged the group to write their own poems about forms or techniques. The more we dug into the book, the more we realized that the author doesn’t always explain a form in that form. For instance, her poem about the sestina follows the form but does not explain it. And one of the flaws of the book is that nowhere is there clear definitions of the techniques and forms. Still and all, I recommend the book, and we all had fun playing around with form and techniques. Here are three of mine.


Writing teachers especially hate
run-ons. Close the gate
so the end of the line can have the pause
that finishes a thought or completes a clause.



small observation
perhaps elaboration
wry commentary


Personification Limerick

I once was a limerick named Sue.
My rhythm was fine. Rhyme was, too.
There was just this one thing
caused my heart not to sing:
my longing to be a haiku.


All three poems are ©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021. (I’m not sure what’s up with me sharing multiple poems per Poetry Friday post…this is the third week in a row…)

Catherine has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Reading to the Core. Check out the other Inklings’ responses to the challenge here:

Heidi @ My Juicy Little Universe
Linda @ A Word Edgewise
Margaret @ Reflections on the Teche
Molly @ Nix the Comfort Zone

24 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Form and Function”

  1. I don’t enjamb naturally. I think it’s why I struggle with sonnets, etc! By contrast, you do it beautifully! (Pretty sure I was a little envious of your sonnet enjambment recently, now that I think about it.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are such fun! I love “Close the gate…” and that whole poem. This is a book I’ve been meaning to check out – thank you for the heads up and for your thoughts about it. And please…keep the multiple poems coming! xx, a.


  3. Close the gate! If I had a nickel for every time I heard that as a kid I’d have enough to at least buy you a coffee. Wonderful and insightful examples of the form. Here’s to more multiple poem posts. This one is a winner.


  4. *I* know what’s up with the multiple poem posts…and with the midweek brunches–it’s only a matter of time! : ) These are all quite brilliant but I ab.so.lutely love the haiku and its tiny perfection–“perhaps elaboration.” Thanks for a great challenge.


  5. Wonderful poems, Mary Lee. I’ve come across the word enjambment twice today. I’m embarrassed to say I wasn’t sure what it meant, but your poem explains it perfectly. Thanks!


  6. This. Is. Brilliant. What a fun book to play around with! I’m very amused at a limerick’s longing to be a haiku – honestly, one might be taken more seriously. And I was thrilled to discover via Susan Thomsen’s blog Richard Wright’s haiku –!! It’s everywhere! And it’s lovely.


  7. I’m have difficulty getting my comments to post, but here goes. You show so much in your poems, enjambment, what the three lines of haiku might do, and the fun of a limerick. You capture Sue’s angst. These are fun.


  8. Mary Lee, enjoy that retirement and writing multiple poems! Such fun here! Love the personification limerick especially.


  9. Each of these is wonderful! Your haiku is elegant perfection and I totally love your limerick poem. It cracked me up. What a wonderful example of limerick and personification. Poor Sue… Thanks for the fun challenge! Oh, and I also vote for you to continue to share trios of poems 🙂


  10. These are wonderful. I want to share the haiku one with my students, as part of my ongoing effort to communicate that it isn’t just about slapping down any old seventeen-syllable gathering of sounds! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


  11. I love the idea of exploring and explaining poetic forms, using the forms!

    Love the poems – the limerick wanting to be a haiku made me laugh!


  12. Such Fun, MaryLee! I love all three of your poems – especially the enjambment (because I tend to be wordy)! Such great observations about the text in the book, as well! Thank you for sharing your fun poems!


  13. I was going to let you know which of these was my favorite but I simply can NOT choose just one. I love all three of these clever takes. Well done, you!


  14. I’m late reading PF posts this week, but I’m so glad I stopped by, Mary Lee. These are terrific! I love how you show enjambment. Sue’s longing in the limerick surprised me in a delightful way. I inadvertently participated in your Inkling challenge by posting a Snowball poem that described its form. I’ll have to check out Newlyn’s book.


  15. So fun! I love your poems. I’ve also seen this book across a few blogs now so I just had to request a copy of the library. I look forward to checking it out. Thanks!


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