Invented Poetry Forms – The Tennet

How a Typical Poet Reacts When First Attempting to Write a TennetĀ  (Photograph by Ariel Potter)


The tennet is a relatively simple poetry form that I invented (at least compared to the others I created). It consists of two stanzas: a quatrain (4 lines) and a sestet (6 lines). The quatrain has a rhyme scheme of abab, while the sestet has one of cdecde. The lines can be either metered or unmetered, and there are no fixed rules on their length (which can vary through out the poem if you wish). The name tennet, as you probably have already figured out, is derived from “ten line sonnet”, and coincidently is a palindromic word (which reads the same forward and backward).

IĀ  find the tennet to be a fun form to play with, and hope you will try your hand at writing one. If you do, please consider posting your tennet in the comments for all to enjoy!

For inspiration, here are two examples of tennets I have written:


In Praise of Those Tackling “The Bambi Factor”
(From Ideas and Words Taken From Francine
D’Allesandro and Buzz Busby)

Eco-scientists deserve high marks
for creating a “Cuteness Scale”,
which tells us how much we despise sharks
but adore the porpoise and the whale.

They studied just how cuddly
is the cuttlefish,
and determined how few among us
who wouldn’t gladly hug a tree,
yet ever dream or wish
to fondle a fungus.


A Country Not Only For Old Men

It’s not that nostalgia just inflicts the old,
but that the very young have a lot less to miss –
all their favorite candy bars are still being sold,
they have yet to savor the thrill of their first kiss.

We long for what is gone, what we no longer have,
like the widower who pines for his original wife.
Some say even newborns grow homesick for the womb.
Do memories provide comfort, act as a soothing salve?
Maybe the dead eternally reminisce about life,
the resurrected feel sentimental for the tomb?