Writing Exercise

by | July 6, 2014 | Writing Exercise | 5 comments

 By Ashley Lister

 Did I ever mention the cinquain? I can’t recall if I’ve covered it on
here. And, even if I have, the cinquain is always worth revisiting.

Invented by Adelaide Crapsey, not a name that most would want associated with their poetry, the traditional cinquain is five lines of
effective syllable based poetry.


giggling groans

a ripe rosy red rump

cheerily cheeky chastised cheeks


Note the syllable count for this form:

Line one                               =
2 x syllables

Line two                               =
4 x syllables

Line three                           = 6 x syllables

Line four                              =
8 x syllables

Line five                               =
2 x syllables

Note also that the last line refers back to the first line, to give the
poem its cyclical feel.


lips against lips

licks, kisses and nibbles
your scent, your taste, your sweet flavour

you’re mine

There are different interpretations of the cinquain, each one perfectly
valid. But I do love the rigidity of the traditional form. As always, if you
fancy sharing your cinquain in the comments box below, I’ll look forward to
reading your work.

Ashley Lister

Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his second title published under his own name: Swingers: Female Confidential by Ashley Lister (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753513439) Ashley’s non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica. Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto. He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    And is the photo really of sweet Adelaide?

    Thanks for another challenge, Ash.

  2. Ashley Lister

    Hi Lisabet,

    This is, indeed, the unfortunately named Ms Crapsey. Look forward to seeing your response 🙂


  3. Rachel Green

    his calloused hands
    unhooking her bra strap
    his breath smells of beer and ciggies
    age gap

  4. Ashley Lister

    Rachel – it's been too long.

    The thing I love about this one (even though you've taken a grim turn with the content) is that your voice is so clear in this:

    You pronounce 'fumbling' as FUM-BLING (not fum-BULL-ing).

    You pronounce beer with a single broad vowel sound in the middle, rather than as a two syllable word (BE-ARR).

    Lovely use of the form 🙂

  5. Rachel Green

    Thanks Ash. My English dialect creeping in, I think 🙂 My morning routine is to write a cinquain, a haiky, a tanka and a sevenling before I do anything else, has been for about ten years. The cinquains I generally use for plotting novels, and this one concerns the deflowering of a girl by an older man,

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