Next month we are launching a brand new resource on Instagram, Her Heart Forms ǀ @herheartforms. This page, and the posts we will be adding here, are focused on helping you to shake off the shackles of free verse, so that you can run wild with structure and form.
Many poets, especially new and emerging poets can be intimidated by form, and get stuck in the free verse ‘comfort zone’. But we strongly advocate for structured poetry forms because they will help you to develop your craft. Form makes you think carefully about word choice, grammar, syntax and structure. It forces you to grow and develop as a poet, and that is something we believe in – helping each and every reader and community member to get the most from the experience of writing poetry.
We will be exploring both traditional and contemporary forms and even if you only ever write one of each, we are sure that each of you will find at least one form that speaks to your heart. We know that you will also improve your writing as you practice and participate.
We warmly invite you to follow @herheartforms, and come on this literary journey through the history of poetry with us. To tempt you, we’ve posted one of the forms that took Instagram by storm in 2016. A favourite here at Her Heart, the Little 11, or Elfchen.
An Elfchen or Little 11 poem is one that consists of five lines and 11 words. It is a German form of poetry with the following structure:
First line: 1 word
Second line: 2 words
Third line: 3 words
Fourth line: 4 words
Fifth Line: 1 word
This form is open to rhyme and there is no set theme.
These poems are an elegant, simple and endearing form to write.
In a group writing setting they also make a ‘warm up’ to get the creative juices flowing. In teams, one person will write a Little 11. The next person will then write one, starting with the last word of their team mates poem, and so on.
Our example poem was written by Editor in Chief, Rayna Halloway ǀ @herheartshapedbox. To see more examples search for #little11 or #elfchen on Instagram.