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UnBeelievables are Unsettled in the Ukiah Poem

Today’s form is called the ukiah (and you will soon see why). I have two wonderful books as well for you: one is a picture book of UnBeelievables that teaches and entertains young readers about bees! and the second is a beautiful middle-grade novel in verse that just leaves you feeling a bit – Unsettled.

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The Ukiah Poetic Form

Today’s form is thanks to AllPoetry and to its creator Robert Ropars. The ukiah, if you can venture a guess from its name, is actually a reverse haiku! So how is it a reverse haiku? Let us find out.

So What is the Ukiah?

Paraphrased from the words of the creator as he went about trying to create a reverse haiku, a true “reversal” would reverse not only the syllabic construction, but also take into account the rhyming (or rather, the non-rhyme) aspect.

In addition, based on what I see in the examples and additional information over at AllPoetry, the theme is more generic and you can thus use the ukiah to write about anything (not just nature), as well as give it a title.

The Ukiah‘s Characteristics

So the ukiah’s elements are that, at its most basic, it is:

  • stanzaic: One tercet (three-line stanza) (but I am guessing we could have a series of ukiah too)
  • syllabic: 7/5/7 across the three lines
  • rhymed: in the examples, it is a monorhyme (though the rules by the creator just say rhyming lines, so maybe it could also be aba?)
  • titled

My Ukiah Series for the NaPoWriMo prompt

NaPoWriMo’s Day 25 prompt is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it.

The challenge: write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live. Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights, or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops. Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves. Whatever form your dream-visitor takes, happy writing!

Once I started, I kept on (and forced myself to stop, though I have an epic tale in mind now, with a shift of mood towards the nostalgic and the dramatic as well, but….!).. Anyway, here are the words that spouted forth with an ainsling at very close quarters – my home.

Pin Me

an ink pen and a open blank notebook in the background. pin title says poetic forms: u is for ukiah

The Book(s)


Title: UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings
Author/Illustrator: Douglas Florian
Publishers: Beach Lane Books (March 6, 2012)
Genre: Children’s Poetry/Insect Books (5 – 8 years)
Source: Library

The buzz is big for Douglas Florian’s new poetry collection about the unBEElieveably unique lives of honeybees—and the vital role they play in our ecosystem.

A very cool rhyming read that educates while entertaining young ones about these most amazing creatures, these UnBeelievable bees! Each two-page spread has an illustration on one side and a bee poem (most often rhyming) with additional text providing more contextual information on the other side.

From the Welcome poem to the Beebliography listed at the end, this one is truly a bee-neficial read! And yes, the poems are full of buzzing-bee-words that alliterate, beat to the rhythm of the swarm, and of course, rhyme all around!

From the poem ‘Summer Hummer’

Pair it with Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera for an even more bee-autiful bee-lesson!

Get it here


Title: Unsettled
Author: Reem Faruqi  
Publishers: HarperCollins (May 11, 2021)
Genre: Children’s Asian & Asian American Books/Novels in verse (8 – 12 years, and up)
Source: Library

For fans of Other Words for Home and Front Desk, this powerful, charming immigration story follows a girl who moves from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia, and must find her footing in a new world. Reem Faruqi is the ALA Notable author of award-winning Lailah’s Lunchbox.

I could not stop reading this one once I started, and soon, even before I knew it, the 350+ pages of this book were all read and I was done. A beautiful, beautiful read, that, like I mentioned at the start, and like the title of the book, left me feeling unsettled. Heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once, this book is now marked with my tears and smiles. Well, not literally, since I read a digital edition, but you know what I mean.

Faruqi expertly weaves in topics of family, friendships and betrayal, racial and gender discrimination, religion, bullying and colorism, culture shock, identity, of the pains of moving and of fitting in, of blending in while standing out, of immigration, 9/11, sports, Alzheimer’s, and more; and she does it all in gorgeously stunning verse!

Nurah, the 13 year old protagonist is so very real and relatable, and so so very likeable! I loved how her love for art, swimming, and her family and culture shine through. Her need to fit in, and to stand out, her need for a friend, for lab partners and for simply someone to ask her to sit down with them at lunchtime effortlessly tug at your heart-strings.

Though the novel is fictional, the author draws upon her own experiences and people she knows to craft this story. Do not miss the author’s note at the end; there is even a recipe for you to try.

Warm and wonderful; a must-read for all. And that stunning cover! (the book has a few more such beautiful illustrations at the start of each of the nine sections it is divided into)

Get it here

Related Reads

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear readers, have you read the featured books? Or any similar reads? I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. What do you think about the ukiah form? Will you attempt it yourself?

Previous posts for these challenges (the A2Z, NaPoWriMo and UBC) are in links below.

Day 0  Day 1 – A  Day 2 – B  Day 3  Day 4 – C  Day 5 – D  Day 6 – E  Day 7 – F  Day 8 – G  Day 9 – H  Day 10  Day 11 – I  Day 12 – J  Day 13 – K  Day 14 – L  Day 15 – M  Day 16 – N Day 17  Day 18 – O  Day 19 – P Day 20 – Q Day 21 – R Day 22 – S Day 23 – T Day 24

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

7 thoughts on “UnBeelievables are Unsettled in the Ukiah Poem

  1. I’ve never read either book. They both look good. Bees and some really serious topics presented in verse and accompanied by a recipe. Plus the poem is so good. Altogether a really great blog post. I truly enjoyed this one! Thank you!

  2. What a great poem and once again I’ve never heard of that style. I haven’t read the books but Lia is interested in bees so I’ll have to check out the Unbeelievable book.

  3. This is my first time to hear about Ukiah and I find it interesting. I haven’t tried writing one but will surely love to try. Thank you for sharing this. It’s so cool.

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