Writing List Poems

List poems are lists of related things arranged in such a way as to convey an idea or story.

List poems have been around for a long time. Sei Shonogan was a Japanese writer/poet who wrote list poems. She lived around the year 1000. People still read a collection of her writings called The Pillow Book.

Here is an example of one of Sei Shonogan’s poems:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own examples of list poems:

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Things that I smell on my morning walk:
Wet dogs
New grass
Car exhaust
Dryer sheets from someone’s laundry
Breakfast cooking on Sunday mornings

Things I hear on my morning walk:
Dogs barking
Leaf blowers
Cars and trucks on the main street
Birds singing
Ducks quacking
The sound of my two feet on pavement

Kenn Nesbitt’s website has more detailed instructions and examples.

Now write a list-inspired poem!

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