Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I have recently become aware of a new form of Japanese poetry called Gogyohka. Gogyohka means literally 'five line verse'. It is an evolution of other traditional Japanese short forms and bears a striking resemblance to Tanka. The form was given birth by Mr Enta Kusakabe and is gaining momentum around the world. It is probably fair to say that the differences between Gogyohka and Tanka are more clearly visible in Japanese than English. That said Gogyohka does offer a freedom as there are no formal requirements other than it be written on five lines. I have found Gogyohka to be the perfect outlet for poems I have written on five lines that I would not consider to be tanka. See below for a small selection.

You can learn more about this exciting new form by following the links below.

The first link will take you to Gogyohka Junction a vibrant online community of Gogyohka poets and the second is an overview of the form on Wikipedia. Enjoy!

held up
against the mystery
of this life
words are no more
than empty shells

in my arms
the face
of our love
is looking up
and smiling

so many people
so many masks
through this life
we pass

sometimes light
sometimes dark
my mind
is a bridge
across time

they appear to be
this young couple
hand in hand
through the park


Frank Williams said...

I've never heard of the Japanese poetry called Gogyohka, Paul. The examples that you give are excellent - must investigate further...

Paul Smith said...

Thanks Frank, it's well worth investigating. There are some great writers active on Gogyohka Junction, some you will possibly know and many you won't.

michiko said...

Hello Paul,

I am from the site of Gogyoka led by Aizu. Your Gogyouka are all superbe. I like particularly the 1st and 4th ones. Thank you.

Paul Smith said...

Hi Michiko and welcome to Paper Moon. Thank you for commenting, I'm glad you found something that spoke.

Jenny Wren UK said...

Have learned some of the basics from The Poetry Forum, where I am a member.

Good to see your examples of these beautiful forms.

Thank you.