Writing to Learn: Cinquain Poem

Writing to Learn: Cinquain Poem

Use an artwork as a prompt for a cinquain poem. This activity enables students to activate their imaginations, gives them a framework for connecting personally with and sharpens their critical observation skills.

Grade Level:
College, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Subject Area:
English, Visual Arts
Activity Type:
Engagement Activity

Writing to Learn: Cinquain Poem

Cinquain Poem

A Cinquain is a five-line stanza where each line is formed by using parts of speech according to a pattern. Here’s an example using Pablo Picasso’s painting, Pigeon on a Perch:


Still, Speckled

Waiting, watching, pondering

On his perch, he sits.



Pablo Picasso
Pigeon on a Perch, 1960
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Ask students to try their hand at writing a cinquain about a work of art by using the modern format below:

Noun (the subject, you may use the title of the work)

Two adjectives (words that describe the noun)

Three verbs (action words that activate the noun)

Phrase (feeling or complete sentence about the noun)

Repeat the noun or use a synonym* of the noun


*Synonym: 1. A word having a meaning similar to another word. 2. A word or expression accepted as a figurative or symbolic substitute for another word or expression.