Sijo (Korean Poetry)

"It seems to be the nature of mankind continually to try something new. That is
just as true in poetry as it is in other areas. During the past forty years
or so we have shown increasing interest in Asian verse patterns. The Middle
Eastern ghazal has its devoted followers in the West, and Japanese forms like
haiku, tanka, renga and haibun are now commonly found in small press and
commercial poetry periodicals. Journey through the Internet and you will see
these forms blossoming everywhere. We Westerners have fallen in love with
Asian patterns, patterns that connect us tenuously with ancient cultures so
different from our own.

So it is with the S I J O (see-szo or she-szo, with the J pronounced as the
French pronounce Jacques). The roots of this lyrical Korean cousin of haiku
and tanka stretch back well over 1000 years. It has been the most popular
form of lyric verse in Korea for over 500 years, sung equally by Confucian
scholars, members of the royal court and common folk . . .

. . . .Remember the three characteristics that make the sijo unique -- its basic
structure, musical/rhythmic elements, and the twist. It is shorter and more
lyrical than the ghazal. It is more roomy than the haiku, and it welcomes
feelings and emotions which haiku either discourage or disguise. It should
please lovers of ballads, sonnets and lyrics, and the downplay of regular
meter and rhyme should appeal to writers of free verse. In short, it's a
fascinating challenge. Let us see your latest one."

~ Larry Gross, copy from his article on Sijo Primer #1




A single sole was lost today, deep in the river Yalu,
Thrashing, twisting, torn to shreds with color quickly fading.
On the bridge a small boy laughs, holding out his empty shoe."


by Creasy Clauser (Crawfordsville, IN)
12th grade, Southmont High School
2009 Sijo Writing Competition winning entry
  Still American
  They say go, return to land that I don't know. It makes no sense.
Born and raised American, so Mexico is still foreign
Cuture kept, but this is my home. Immigrant, no: Hispanic.

by Roberto Santos (Laredo, TX)
12th grade, John B. Alexander High School
2013 Sijo Writing Competition winning entry


Sijo Resources - Website Links:
source: www.SejongCulturalSociety.org

Sijo Primer # 1
An introduction for those new to sijo, a refresher for others.
by Larry Gross
About Sijo by Elizabeth St Jacques (revised , March 2001)
How to Write Linked Sijo and Sijo Sequences by Elizabeth st Jacques (revised March 2001)
The Structure of The Korean Sijo - Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 36. pp114-134 (1976) by David R. McCann
A Basic Guide to Writing Sijo - by Sejong Cultural Society

SIJO: Korea's Poetry Form - editec by Lucy Park and Elizabeth Jorgensen

Sijo:Korea's Poetry Form (available for purchase at AMAZON.com)

Videos for this book:

- Video clip of sample pages of this book (5:42)

- Interview with the authors - The Korea Society's Linda Tobash, senior Advisor for Education

SIJO Poetry Videos
  What is sijo? How to write sijo? How to teach sijo?

Sijo lecture videos by David McCanne (3 videos)

Sijo Lecture Series #1 "Form of Sijo" 9:21
Sijo Lecture Series #2 "History of Sijo" 5:32
Sijo Lecture Series #3 "Analysis of sijo - Hwang Chin-i's sijo" 5:32


Sijo lecture videos by Mark Peterson (5 videos)

Writing Sijo Lecture # 1: "Rhythm of sijo & classic masterpieces" 9:55
Writing Sijo Lecture #2: "Correcting sijo" 12:11
Writing Sijo Lecture #3: "Teaching sijo through mimicry" 04:30
Writing Sijo Lecture #4: "Creating sijo from other texts"  06:35
Writing Sijo Lecture #5: "Sijo and Haiku"  06:35


  Teaching sijo writing in high school classes

Sijo Teaching at High School Classes (PlayList - 6 videos):

D'Evelyn Jr/Sr High School, Denver, CO
- Ms. DeBorah Holland's history class

Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Roya, VA
- Ms. Stacy Kaminer's creative writing class

Arrowhead Union High School, Hartland, WI
- Ms Elizabeth Jorgensen's creative writing class

Notre Dame High School, Chattanooga, TN
- Mr. Chuck Newell's creative writing class


Sijo lessons for elementary school students by Elizabeth Jorgensen (4 videos)

Sijo Lesson for Elementary School Students #1 "What is Sijo?"
Sijo Lesson for Elementary School Students #2 "Let's Read Sijo"
Sijo Lesson for Elementary School Students #3 "Write Your Sijo"
Sijo Lesson for Elementary School Students #4 "Share Your Sijo"

Sijo Samples - Sejong Cultural Society
Sijo Writing Competition Winners' Sijo (Pre-college students and adults in USA & Canada) 
2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 |
  International Sijo Competition Winners' Sijo
2022 | 2021 |
Wisconsin Sijo Competition Winners' Sijo (Adult, Senior and Junior division)
2022 | 2021 |
Coming Soon ...
Modern Korean Verse: In Sijo Form - Review by Elizabeth St. Jacques
The Frog Outside the Well Research Center YouTube Channel by Mark Peterson
About Sijo - Prof Mark Peterson Interview with Elizabeth Jorgensen
"Sijo in USA? Sijo Competition in USA" (August 27, 2020 posting)
Prof. Peterson interviews the winners of this 2020 sijo writing contest hosted by the Sejong Cultural Society, one in the "Adult Division" and one in the "Student Division" and also a teacher who this year has taught six winners, four students and two adults. Also, we think there are more applicants for the contest in America than there are for the largest contest in Korea. Sijo is starting to be well-known in America.

  The Frog Outside the Well Research Center YouTube Channel by Mark Peterson
About Sijo - Video #4
"Sijo and Nobel Prize " with comments on Sijo education in Korea (Nov 16, 2019 posting)
  The Frog Outside the Well Research Center YouTube Channel by Mark Peterson
About Sijo - Video #3
"Korean Sijo in the U.S.? ! " (Nov 4, 2019 posting)
  The Frog Outside the Well Research Center YouTube Channel by Mark Peterson
About Sijo - Video #2
"Sijo In English - by translation and orginal poems" (Oct 29, 2019 posting)
  The Frog Outside the Well Research Center YouTube Channel by Mark Peterson
About Sijo - Video #1
'Korean Sijo VS Japanese Haiku" (October 20, 2019 posting)



Korean Cultural Center, LA website (Posted October 19. 2020):
Dr. Mark Peterson, a renowned Korean Studies expert to host an online conversation on how Sijo is doing in America as a literary genre. Dacy Lim and Chuck Newell, winners of the English Sijo Contest 2020 (hosted by Korean Cultural Center, LA) also joined the table to share their personal experiences. This is an online event, available from October 16th 2020 on all KCCLA social media platforms including Dr. Peterson's Youtube channel, The Frog Outside the Well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBDQB0Xeza4).
"Sijo: Discover the New Haiku" (Harvard University website video, April 4, 2011).
David McCann, Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Literature; director of the Korea Institute, Harvard University
  "The new haiku? Harvard professor david McCann says America is ready for sijo.
Boston Globe Interview with David McCann (6/30/2009)
  한국어 방송 (In Korean) - KBS2TV Broadcast - "Live Today" "(생방송 오늘)" (on Sijo poetry events in USA - covering the English Sijo writing workshop for English teachers at UIC and Sijo lecture at the Chicago Public Library (April 9-10, 2010, Chicago) - (narration in Korean, interview in English) The video clip is also available on YouTube.

Sijo and Music (performances):

2019 Rush Hour Concert - selected performances


Music Concert Inspired by Sijo
Oct 21, 2017 at Poetry Foundation
selected performances


Sijo Hip-Hop music video by Elephant Rebellion

  Sijo Teaching Resources developed by Sejong Cultural Society
(Powerpoint file, video files, teaching plan, etc... for teachers)
Teaching sijo writing in high school class rooms
( D'Evelyn Jr/Sr High School, Randolph-Macon Academy, Arrowhead Union High School, and Notre Dame High School
Website: Poetry in TheWORLDShop by Larry Gross (includes a section on "Asian-inspired Patterns")
  Past Events - News release on the April 2010 Sijo Events in Chicago - In English - PDF (In English - MS Word file) , In Korean,
  Rebirth of Sijo in Korea - a new movement to teach Sijo writing to children in Korea
(Child Sijo - 어린이 시조나라, in Korean)



Website by Sejong Cultural Society