We are here to write poetry, inspired in part by a charming book edited by David Lehman and based on an online feature at The American Scholar.

What charmed me initially was an early prompt to write a haiku followed by a tanka.

As David Lehmen explains:

A rarity among poetic forms, the haiku is indifferent to patterns of meter and rhyme and dependent entirely on syllabic count. The rules of the three-line form are few. The first and third lines must consist of exactly five syllables each. The middle line — the sanwich line, if you like — has seven syllables.

Hence the name of this website, Five7Five.

The haiku that won that early competition was “August” by Paul Breslin:

The sickle, asleep
In its shed all year, begins
To dream of ripe grain.

A tanka, then, as described by Lehman:

A tanka is a haiku stanza followed by a two-line stanza consisting of seven syllables each.

The two-line stanza Lehman picked to augment Breslin’s haiku was submitted by Barbara Shine:

The wheat bends before the wind,
rehearsing its surrender.


Beyond haiku and tanka lie collaborative linked verses known as renga. Lehman again:

Japanese poets, such as Basho, sometimes collaborated to create renga, or linked verse, in which one poet contributes a haiku and the next poet writes a two-line tail (and then a third poet writes a haiku linked to the tail, and so on and on).

Welcome to my locoverse. Offer your own contributions in the comments in a place for verse.

Featured illustration

The photo at the top of the page is of Mt. San Antonio, the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California. Locals know it as Mt. Baldy. The photo was taken from an airplane on approach to land at either Los Angeles International Airport, Long Beach Airport, or John Wayne Airport — I don’t remember now. The photo was taken with my first digital camera, a point-and-shoot Kodak CS7330, on May 8, 2005.