In today’s post, we will be discussing the Kindku, a newly invented poetry form inspired by both traditional Japanese forms (like the haiku and tanka) and Found Poetry. Co-created by Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis, here are the rules for writing one taken directly from their website, Auroras & Blossoms @ https://abpositiveart.com :
“The Kindku is a short poem of seven lines. The syllable pattern is 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 or 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5 / 7 / 5.
The Kindku must include seven words that are taken from one specific source — a poem, a book, a newspaper article, etc. In the case of a book or long piece of writing, those words must come from the same page.
Words must be used in the order they were found. Their placement also depends on the line:
- Line 1 starts with word 1
- Line 2 ends with word 2
- Line 3 starts with word 3
- Line 4 ends with word 4
- Line 5 starts with word 5
- Line 6 ends with word 6
- Line 7 starts or ends with word 7
Kindku poems can have titles and punctuation. No matter the topic covered, they must sport a positive tone.
Kindku poets are encouraged to credit and link to the inspirations behind their pieces.”
I’d also like to add that I was curious if the seven keywords had to be exactly how they appeared in the original source material or could they be in a modified form. For example, if one of the words was a noun and was plural in the original, could it be singular in your kindku, or if it was a verb in the past tense, are you allowed to use the word in the present tense? I contacted Cendrine, one of the co-inventors of the form, and she told me the words, indeed, have to be exactly as found in the original text (which does make writing a kindku a bit more of a challenge).
Cendrine, also graciously gave me permission to reprint two of the first kindkus ever written (one she wrote, and the other by David, her co-creator) on this blog as examples (I also need to note, if you wish, you can emphasise the seven words taken from the original source material by highlighting them in bold, like Cendrine and David did in the following kindkus, but that is totally optional):
Art Writes Itself
Art writes itself in the heart
before other things;
intent lingers for a while
lost hope to find a new map.
on this continent
you are the only master.
Kindku inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art
© 2020 Cendrine Marrouat
True Self Remains
Antique, old, not forgotten
Heart wants to be filled, always
True self will appear
Mighty are our selfless deeds
Fear and doubt we chased away.
Kindku inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias
© 2020 David Ellis
Like in all my posts about poetic forms, I am also including my own humble efforts at writing some for you to use as models. I must confess that I did find the Kindku at first extremely difficult to write. Surprisingly, it wasn’t sticking to the exact syllable counts or word order that gave me problems, but the primary rule about the tone of the poem. I wouldn’t say that my first two attempts (one based on Robert Frost’s “The Witch of Coos” and the other from “The Fish” by Marianne Moore”) were exactly negative in attitude, but I wouldn’t describe them as positive and upbeat either, just rather neutral and detached in tone. According to the Auroras & Blossoms website, one of the main purposes of the kindku is to be “an invitation to promote kindness, positivity and inspiration through poetry” (as you can see, the word “Kind” is even a part of the form’s name), so I must emphasise that in order to write a true kindku, you should try to follow this rule as closely as you possibly can, even though what one considers positive probably varies from person to person. Hopefully, in these later efforts, I was able to achieve that goal, but I will let you, dear reader, be the judge:
Isn’t it Obvious?
Visible things often change
fluctuating in between.
Like a magic charm,
your own sense of perception
detects and opens
surrounding unseen doorways.
Kindku inspired by Marianne Moore’s A Jelly-Fish
All Your Uncertainty (Like the Weather) Will Soon Pass…
Fog creeps across the landscape.
Stealthily, it comes.
Little by little, things fade
(you can’t see your feet).
It seems the world’s dissolving
then turns solid once again.
Kindku inspired by Carl Sandburg’s Fog
The Way of the Seasons
Summer simmers like hot soup,
cools into Autumn.
Winter, impatient, waits to
be relieved by Spring,
Sowing snow which will melt to
feed crops planted and
thriving neath the vernal sun.
Kindku inspired by e. e. cumming’s anyone lived in a pretty how town
There is a technique I discovered while working on the above kindkus that I feel makes them easier to write which may prove helpful to you too. Instead of randomly deciding on which seven words to use beforehand, just go through your source material, and choose a word to begin. As you finish the first line, scan for a succeeding word that will work in your second as your train of thought develops, and so on and so on, making sure to use the words in the order they appeared in the original work. You will find this way provides flexibility and flow, and you won’t be forced to stick in a predetermined word that just won’t fit in your poem.
If you are like me, you may even find that writing kindkus will become addictive. As you grow more confident in writing them, here is a variant you might like to try using an entire (or partial) line from one of your favorite works (be it a poem, a song, a short, a quotation, etc.) as the source of your seven words. For an example, one of my favorite lines ever from poetry is the final line of “Refrigerator, 1957” by Thomas Lux – “You do not eat that which rips your heart with joy.” Using its last seven words, I came up with the following (which I found quite pleasing):
That unexpected feeling
in your stomach (which
rips away complacency,
thoughts of despair), your
heart pounding in pure delight
(each thump pulsing with
love), is known, dear friends, as “Joy“…
Kindku inspired by Thomas Lux’s Refrigerator, 1957
So I hope you enjoyed today’s post on the Kindku, and will try writing some for yourself (it is a wonderful way to pay tribute to some of your favorite poems or other written works). Remember, even if you do find the rules a bit restrictive and intimidating at first, don’t give up. Keep going, and I can almost guarantee you’ll be more than satisfied with your results. And please don’t be shy about sharing them, either with me, or the kind folks at Auroras & Blossoms. I am sure they will be thrilled to see them!