Shanzi is a fascinating and flexible new form. In December 2005 Andreas Gripp, a Canadian poet living in London, Ontario announced his newly created form.
The Shanzi is written in 7 lines with breaks of 2, 2 and 3. The poem contains 31 syllables arranged in this manner: 4-5, 5-4, 4-4-5.
The first 2 lines introduce the image/subject; the next 2 lines amplify what is affected by the image/subject; the last 3 lines focus on a new
image/subject that complement and provide a meditative conclusion. Shan-zi may be titled.
Andreas provides this Shanzi poem as an example:
Backyard In June
In the garden
butterfly and moth
by quiet flight
and my breathing
embrace the silence
Shanzi, "Backyard In June" by Andreas Gripp, presents a familiar early summer experience with delicate images and a pleasant surprise. In the first two couplet verses the surroundings of a June garden where butterfly and moth fly undisturbed among the blooms introduce a serene setting with an economy of words; these carefully selected images paint a picture of quite and solitude. The third verse introduces the
complementary elements of "tender breezes" and a human "breathing" vividly captured together,
wrapped in the "embrace" of "silence". All of the images complement both the act of breathing and the environment of "silence" in a June garden. The use of sound in the repeated consonance of the "b" sound in the words "Backyard", "butterfly", "Undisturbed", "by", "breezes", "embrace", and "breathing" provides a
gentle but unifying effect that reinforces the nature images in the poem with the imitated sound of a pleasant breeze.
This Sketchbook collection of Shanzi demonstrates the range of topic and subject poets have expressed using this admirable form. In this issue five writers have contributed
Shanzi poems: Gerry Bravi, John Daleiden, Andreas Gripp, Karina Klesko, Clive Oseman