the cherita
your storybook journal


autumn loneliness

cat and i in a quiet place

the other leaves
falling into time
and place

ai li






in my palm – edition 2:7 the nineteenth edition of the cherita has now launched, and is now available in print and on kindle on Amazon.

N.B. Please be aware that the Kindle versions now no longer have images to accompany each cherita.


For those of you unfamiliar with the format of the cherita, you may like to know that for our print version, each selected poem is published one to a page to allow the author’s words to breath, and is also allocated a blank page before the following poem appears. This blank page, apart from the one to a page format, allows a reader to pause, and for the words to echo in the after silence. I designed this format over twenty odd years ago to allow for quiet contemplation between each poem.

The kindle version is also one poem to a ‘page’ to allow for maximum stillness.

Both versions of the cherita have been edited to be experienced two ways. They each can be read as a storybook and as an anthology of individual poems. Two reading experiences in one book.



I have decided to migrate all the editions of the cherita from flipbook to print and Kindle on Amazon, and will retire our last archival flipbook as and when we finally migrate them all. Your feedback has prompted me to arrive at this exciting decision for the journal’s future, and I would like to thank you all for taking the time to let me know.

Please watch this space for developments.




will be 21 years old

on 22 june 2018

[22 june 1997 – 22 june 2018]


and it will still be a storytelling medium for all your stories of Life, Love and Loss.

Do send me your thoughts and comments on what the first year of the cherita has meant to you via your writing of cherita.




celebrating the 20th anniversary of ai li’s
creation of the cherita 22 june 1997 – 22 june 2017

In June 1997, ai li, the founding editor and publisher of still, moving into breath, dew-on-line, and now the co-editor of the cherita, created a new short form called cherita. You can find more information about the cherita and ai li on our origins, biographies, articles and bibliography pages.




The Original Guidelines

CHERITA [1 — 2 — 3]
[pronounced CHAIR-rita]

Cherita is the Malay word for story or tale. A cherita consists of a single stanza of a one-line verse, followed by a two-line verse, and then finishing with a three-line verse. It can be written solo or with up to three partners.

The cherita tells a story. It was created by ai li on the 22 June 1997 in memory of her grandparents who were raconteurs extraordinaire. It was also inspired by Larry Kimmel’s sensitive recognition of a shorter form contained within the opening three-verse stanza of ai li’s LUNENGA, which had been created on the 27 May 1997.




CHERITA  TERBALIK – inverted cherita
[3–2–1], [2–1–3], [1–3–2], [2–3–1] and [3–1–2]
[pronounced CHAIR-rita tur-bar-lake]

The Cherita Terbalik can be written in the above stanza formats. Examples of formats [3–2–1] and [2–1–3] will be featured in forthcoming editions of the cherita. Terbalik is the Malay word for reversal or upside down.

Cherita Terbalik also tells a story and can be written with up to three partners.




The Editor of the cherita

​ai li – creator of cherita




Godfather of the cherita

Larry Kimmel – godfather of the cherita and former co-editor


You can find more information about our editor and Larry Kimmel on our origins, biographies and bibliography pages.


copyright © the cherita 2018