How To Write A Rictameter Poetry Form

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Having Fun With Poetry Forms – Rictameter

How To Write A Rictameter Poetry FormI’ve decide to do (hopefully) a regular group of posts on poetry forms and their importance and use. I know many modern writers of poetry have opted just to write free verse in the belief the form is useless and out of date but I tend to disagree as to me, using forms is basically just about training and improving your writing brain and broadening your knowledge in your trade and industry, and adding some fun to your writing, bare with me. Today, let’s have some fun with the short crazy form of the Rictameter.

To me, poetry forms are very important to anyone serious about poetry. Of Course, there are part time and novice poets, who just write what comes to mind, or just like to write period, which is fine and some amazing writing can come from this, but to me, been a poet, is like been a baker, chef, plumber, etc. basically, it’s a trade, simple as that. And like any trade, has tons of tools and systems, that should be known and implemented.

Now, poetry forms in the modern age are hardly used, but serious talented poets, they embrace the importance and benefits of known certain forms, or the meaning of terms and tools such as, meters, Iambic feet, syllable structures, rhyme, rhythm and so on. Knowing different forms has huge benefits for the gates of your poetic mind, the more you are introduced to different ideas of poetic structures, the more your mind will open and expand to greatness, and as with all rules/forms etc, a good writer will know these but a great writer will break these, experiment, create their own version and style and stamp their words and voice using the knowledge and base of the form.

I cannot stress more the importance of knowing this trade if your serious about poetry and wanting a career out of it, or to publish great poetry books. I have read many crappy poetry books over the years and wonder how some get away with it and how people buy these books if they sell at all. Know the foundations, the tools, and have the passion and you seriously can’t fail and pride will spill from the pages you produce.

So, their are tons of poetry forms, and the following posts over the coming months are aimed with the intention of hopefully broadening the minds of people, eager to stretch the limits of their minds, and introduce passion, passion I swear if you met me or knew you would see the crazy passion I have for poetry and poets ( you want to see my collection, outrageous.)

So, as I said there are tons of forms, some like sonnets or triolets, which I love and know well but love to add my own voice to (think Pablo Neruda’s Sonnets, using the traditional sonnet in widely different ways from free verse to more conventionally strict forms, basically just skillfully playing around). I’ve decided to start with a form that is short and simple, but different and probably not known to many, which makes it all the more interesting, and if you have read this far, if you feel like trying this form, please do, and if you do, send it to me in the comments below or the contact page and I will add it to the site.

What Is The Rictameter?

The Rictameter is a modern unrhymed 9- line syllabic structure and was invented in the 1990’s by two cousins, Jason D. Wilkins and Richard W. Lunsford, Jr. Starting off with a 2 syllable word, your syllable count heads upwards 4,6,8,10, then at 10, decreases back, 8,6,4,2 and your last 2 syllable word is the same as your first word you started with.

So all in all you have 50 syllables, first and last word are the same, the syllable count should go like 2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2. Can be on any subject. This is great fun to write and hope you can give it a go. If you even center the words you can make a nice diamond shape. Remember, this form can be about anything, any subject and does not have to rhyme. Here’s an example by one of the inventors,

Early 1990’s

by Jason D. Wilkins

2. Satin
4. As your lips are
6. Pressed to mine as velvet
8. Soft and full with rounded sweetness
10.Two gentle petals alive with the night
8. Misted in the summer beauty
6. Of rains that shower love
4. ‘Pon your lips of
2. Satin

and my own take on it, as you will see a little cheesy and sappy but ignore this haha! I have a problem of not been able to stop my pen and have made 3 versus, this was fun.

Clouded Memories

With the
rising of the
morning sun, a twisting
light bent shapes around the darkness
of my lonely old room, crawling like a
snake it hissed a warm wake up call
upon my neck and I
awoke startled
with the

wild eyes
of a mad man.
Woken from a great dream,
a dream of good times with my one
true love, when we sat soft upon the clouds,
adrift in a lovers balloon,
cradled in ecstasy,
mad with love and
wild eyes

deep in the heart
of emotions, we sat
drifting amongst the watchful stars.
But now my love wanders lost on the crest
of my memories, and I in
the rage of a mornings
wake, lie alone,


As you can see, implementing forms in to your writing day/week can help you use and improve your poetic brain and be fun. Syllable counting can be stressful but helps you think and control your writing. If you fancy taking on this form, please do (post here) and I’ll post it on the site, also, give me your views on writing forms, what is your opinion and do you still bother?

The following example is from Kathleen a Nazarene who writes on her site




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6 Responses

  1. That looks fun. I’m going to give it a try – and there’s someone I work with who I think will enjoy the form too. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. It is a lot of fun as most forms are Joanna, can create great rhythm using this form.

  3. I’ve been playing around a little bit with the Rictameter and here’s a favorite of mine I’ve come up with so far.
    I have it set for guests only. Not sure if you’re a member of
    The format I used is quite different so I am unable to write it in this text box and am unable to add a photo.

  4. Donna
    a l t r u i s t i c
    family – matters most
    a feigned mask of strength – my facade
    depressed, desolate, and detached most days
    penning words that come from my heart
    a visceral cannon
    i n v i s i b l e

    Sept. 6, 2014}

  5. Obviously that last Rictameter I posted (I am Who I am) did not show up right at all on this form. It was supposed to be centered, but I don’t see any way of centering. Please just go ahead and delete it. Thank you.

  6. Hi Donna, I really liked this, hope you do not mind me posting it.

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