How To Write Kimo
Kimo is a poetic variation of the haiku. It was created originally to better suit the syllabic counts of Hebrew, hence the Israeli Haiku moniker. It is a poem of three lines that follows a syllable structure of 10 – 7 – 6. They are typically written to capture a “snapshot” of life. There is not much movement, if any, in Kimo poetry but rather a dedicated effort to capture an image. It is a great form to use to encapsulate a single moment in time. The poem is usually unrhymed.
Rules of the Kimo
- It is a poem of 3 lines
- The first line is 10 syllables, the second line is 7, and the third line is 6
- It is unrhymed
- It seeks to capture a “snapshot” of life
Advantages of the Form
If you are still seeking to write short-form poetry but feel as though haiku has too few syllables for what you are trying to express, Kimo can be a great resource to try and craft your perfect poem. Its unique form, which frontloads the poem with syllables, allows for unique compositions in imagery. This form is just a fun way to push play with forms in a unique way and force your brain to come up with unique images.
Challenges of the Kimo
Like any short-form poetry, the challenges arise in the brevity of the form. It is hard to express a complete idea of a picture with so few syllables. The Kimo’s form is very unique in short-form poetry as well, most short verse like sijo or tanka, have very symmetrical syllable counts for all lines. The Kimo’s front-loaded structure forces your brain to adapt to the way you craft an image. It makes every word have to be intentional because each line gives you fewer and fewer syllables to work with.
Prompt 1 – Zen and the Art of __
What are some activities that bring you a sense of satisfaction and/or peace?
Click-clack-click my keyboard sings when I tell it
The words on the screen are awful
but I don’t even care
Prompt 2 – Creative Marketing
You’re working on developing a marketing campaign whose slogans are all written in Kimo formats. Write about any product you want, real or imaginary.
Hours of endless fun not in the sun
Buy our new rainbow slinky
and watch it slink downstairs!
Prompt 3 – Multimodal Poetry
Write a Kimo about your favorite picture, painting, or movie scene.
It’s just a painting of a boy and dog
The pup is smiling big
When did I start crying?
Prompt 4 – Local Inspiration
What’s outside your window right now?
The azure blue tarp keeps a silent watch
Over logs of oak and elm –
A bird perched on the fence
Prompt 5 – Citizen of the World
Variations of haiku come from all over the world; we want to reflect that in our writing. Write about the last place you traveled to
I had two days added to my last trip
Southwest canceled all their flights
They have not paid me back
Prompt 6 – Advice to Your Younger Self
We’ve all thought “if only I had known then”. You’ve got 23 syllables to give your old self some sage advice.
I tell you this in complete earnestness:
do NOT move to Milledgeville
No love is worth that place
Prompt 7 – Appreciating the Mundane
Look around you right now: What doesn’t stand out? Pick the most mundane subject around you and write about that
Printer looms like an ebony gargoyle
collecting dust and boredom
It’s not even plugged in