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Sijo



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For over 500 years, the most popular form of lyric verse in Korea has been a three-line poem called the sijo. Related to the haiku, the form follows a pattern of:
  1. 14-16 syllable line
  2. 14-16 syllable line
  3. 14-16 syllable line 
Sijos can be about anything at all, but should follow a traditional narrative structure:
  1. The first line introduces a situation or a problem
  2. The second line “turns” the narrative in a different direction
  3. The third line provides closure.  
Here are two noteworthy examples, showcasing this structure with the 14-16 syllable lines:
 
Still America
By Roberto Santos, winner of the Sejong Cultural Society’s pre-college sijo competition

 
They say go, return to land that I don't know. It makes no sense.
Born and raised American, so Mexico is still foreign
Culture kept, but this is my home. Immigrant, no: Hispanic.
 
I Will Write a Poem Too
By Yi Unsang (1903-1982)

 
Up above the shimmering sea two or three seagulls are hovering. 
Rolling, wheeling, they write a poem. I do not know the alphabet they use.
On the broad expanse of sky I will write a poem too.
 
(In this example, you’ll notice that some of the lines are over or under 14-16 syllables—some poets hew strictly to the form, while others use it as a loose guideline.)

For even more inspiration, check out these examplar pieces from your fellow writers: "Beautiful Home" by PalmLeaf and "Sijo" by Sofia Miller!