Quilting and Quinzaines

I’ve loved ABC books and A-Z lists for quite a while. This post is one in a series on writing, with the subtopic of poetry.


circa 1983

Writing is a lot like quilting. A writer looks for just the right pieces to put in her story. She takes scraps of memories and uses them to form characters. Her grandma may show up as a neighbor, her favorite teacher will appear as – what else? A favorite teacher.

Her foundation is the backing and batting; her plot is her pattern. She then layers on prints, solids, and textures that make her story rich – a love interest here, a mystery there. The whole work is then stitched together with care, proofread and ironed out. Like a good quilt, a good book will last for generations.

The poetry focus is a quinzaine. A quinzaine is an unrhymed verse of fifteen syllables.

These syllables are distributed among three lines so that there are seven syllables in the first line, five in the second line and three in the third line (7/5/3). The first line makes a statement. The next two lines ask a question relating to that statement.


I’m a very strong woman
Are you a woman?
Are you strong?

By Katie Schmidt

I tried my hand at a few – here they are:

She’s up at the break of day
Is she still weary?
Was there rest?

The sun is high overhead
Who’s counting hours?
How many?

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