A B O U T    S U B M I S S I O N S


has come

my night
i step into

the mirror

from sandalwood dreaming

ai li




We invite you to submit your cherita to the cherita.

Please send us your cherita gems
if you would like to see your accepted cherita
published one to a page
in paperback and on kindle
for maximum stillness
and impact.

Your cherita is allowed to breath in all that space
and allows the reader to slow right down to appreciate
all your timeless stories.



Please note that we do not accept AI generated submissions.

ai li


The copyright of all submissions to the cherita has to belong to the submitter, and the poem or poems have to be created by the submitter and not generated by AI [artificial intelligence].

Send your submissions to ai li at aili@thecherita.com
Please double click and use the standard submission email above. Thanks.
Please do not copy and paste this link elsewhere to use as this will not work.

For collaborations, please include the email addresses of all involved poets. Thanks.

If you are new to the cherita genre, and you would like to familiarise yourself with our storytelling form before writing or submitting cherita, you may first like to visit our DNA section, sub-heading ARTICLES  where you will find ten fine examples of cherita to start with.

You will now also find a number of my published cherita scattered through the website. I decided on showcasing these examples only recently to hopefully inspire you to find your very own unique cherita voice.

You will also find one strong example of cherita from each edition of the cherita featured in the BOOKSHOP section of our website,  for you to further explore the form.

In Atlas Poetica 27, which was its special cherita edition, there are nearly 400 cherita poems to inspire you to write the form.

Furthermore, I edited a special 25 Cherita feature prior to the launch of the cherita for Atlas Poetica. This special feature of 25 heartfelt cherita can be read on Atlas Poetica’s website.

Having said all the above, the best way to be inspired by cherita is to read one or several of our editions available in our BOOKSHOP or on Amazon. I have selected and showcased cherita to show how flexible this form really is within all of the books.




The Original and Official Guidelines

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


temple bell

through fog

is still
haunting away

from paper flowers

ai li




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.


copyright © ai li 2024


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]


our time
spent bickering

can they still
hear us
the ghosts

of who we were


ai li




you try to draw me
a picture
of paradise


you run out
of colours



ai li




it will soon
be fall

you will write

about old graveyards
with new names



ai li




honeysuckle dreaming
in a thatched cottage
with your four cats

when autumn was a stranger
and winter

a distant crematorium



ai li




the life force

that was you
reduced to
a ceramic urn

the cat
kicks over



ai li




The Cherita Terbalik can be written in the above stanza formats. You will find all variants of Cherita Terbalik regularly featured in 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.


copyright © ai li 2024



The original guidelines for Cherita and Cherita Terbalik [inverted cherita] are as above and are the only official valid guidelines for the Cherita genre. There can be no variations to these guidelines without the permission, consent and approval of ai li, the creator of the genre. All rogue attempts to vary these guidelines remain rogue attempts and should be ignored when you write Cherita.


The plural for CHERITA is CHERITA.

If a cherita is titled, then it is rogue and not to be considered a cherita.

The opening stanza is supposed to arouse your curiosity, draw you in to a poet’s story and for you to unravel the remaining stanzas at your own pace as you read on. This vital step will make it your very own special reading experience.

A title gives the ‘storyline’ away and therefore ruins the very important surprise element of a cherita. When the ‘plot’ is already given away by a title, would there be any point for a reader to read on?

That is why I created and designed cherita not to have any titles. They are simply superfluous and do more harm than good for a cherita. If you encounter any cherita with titles, please can you direct the poets and writers concerned to the above link. I am sure no one would like their cherita to be considered rogue.






I have been asked as to what does one call Cherita accompanied within artwork –

I call this form CHERIGA [pronounced Chair-ree-ga]a melange of cherita and haiga.

As for those of you who write combined prose with Cherita,

I call the form CHERIBUN [pronounced Chair-ree-boon] – a word melange of cherita and haibun.

Sadly the cherita does not publish Cheriga as this would escalate our publishing costs, and Cheribun, so please do not submit both these forms to us. Thanks.


copyright © ai li 2024




ai li, the editor and creator of the cherita will read, select and edit all cherita submissions for the journal.

The cherita is a monthly journal and the deadlines for all editions are the end of each preceding calendar month.

Whilst there are submission deadlines as stated above and below, please feel free to submit all your fresh pieces, as and when you are happy with them. Hot off the Press offerings are particularly welcome as they are of the moment.

You can now submit for
the following editions below but please be aware that our editions do fill up quickly so please don’t delay with your submissions :-

we’re in the cherita’s 8th year of being

#8:3 August 2024 – deadline 31 July 2024
#8:5 October 2024 – deadline 30 September 2024
#8:6 November 2024 – deadline 31 October 2024
#8:7 December 2024 – deadline 30 November 2024






Please note that we do not accept AI generated submissions.

ai li


Please submit up to 30 cherita [to include cherita terbalik or inverted cheita] to the editor for each edition of the journal in the body of a single email

In the subject line enter in all capital letters  followed by your full name
SUBMISSION – [your full name]’.

Please include your city, state, and country, full name, and email address, in the body of the email and make no attachments, and submit only cherita poems or the editor will not read your work, and your work will be returned.

You may send your submissions at any time and we will publish accepted poems in the next available edition, or at our discretion, in a future edition. You must be at least 18 years old to submit.

The copyright of all submissions to the cherita has to belong to the submitter, and the poem or poems have to be created by the submitter and not generated by AI [artificial intelligence].

Send your submissions to ai li at aili@thecherita.com
Please double click and use the standard submission email above. Thanks.
Please do not copy and paste this link elsewhere to use as this will not work.


ai li’s criteria:

I am looking for cherita that capture the remembered thrill of being around a campfire, and being captivated by stories with subjects that are as timeless as the cosmos. I want to hear your authentic voice in six lines [either in cherita’s original format of 1-2-3 or as cherita terbalik – inverted cherita [3–2–1], [2–1–3], [1–3–2], [2–3–1] and [3–1–2]] about Life, Love and Loss. What works best for me is the poet or writer’s unique way of looking at the everyday but with fresh eyes, thereby giving us, the reader, a new perspective on what is familiar and around us.

I am not looking for diary entries or angry and political protests, all of which have their places elsewhere but are not for the cherita.

Find the storyteller who lives in you and in all of us, and give him or her a voice with echoes of once upon a cherita . . . and you are halfway there already.

I look forward to reading all your heartfelt stories.




All poems must be the author’s original work. We prefer previously unpublished poems, whether in print or online. We will consider previously published cherita from print or online journals, Facebook, twitter, blogs, social networking sites, personal websites, etc., only if you include appropriate acknowledgments and credits with these submissions.

We will disqualify all previously unpublished submissions which are under consideration elsewhere, or entered into competitions.




G E N E R A L   C O N D I T I O N S


Once we notify you that we have accepted your poems for publication, in the print, e-book, and/or online versions, please do not share or submit your work elsewhere until we have published your work, or the editor will withdraw your work from publication.

We also ask that you refrain from republishing your work in any medium [including facebook, instagram, twitter and blogs etc.] for 90 days from publication in the cherita.


the cherita does not pay its contributors nor does it offer contributors’ copies, although they will be available for purchase. Copyright reverts to the author or artist upon publication.

the cherita reserves the right to reprint contents from its publications on its website and in future print anthologies without having to seek further permission from its submitters, and all submissions to the cherita constitutes acceptance of this condition.

the cherita reserves the right to print online or in print journals and anthologies, in whole or in part, in its sole discretion, all letters and comments to the editor without having to seek further permission from the author, and submission of comments or letters to the editor of the cherita constitutes acceptance of this condition.

Published poets of cherita, gembun, dua in the cherita, and all its publicaitons, and other original genres created by ai li, will be informed if any of their poems are featured in any published and online essays, audio and visual interviews by ai li or featuring ai li.



a note from ai li to inspire your cherita writing

• I created the form way back in 1997. It is 20 years old in June this year, and the cherita has grown up in the most delightful and special way. Numerous writers and poets have kept storytelling alive by writing and publishing their stories in the cherita form for the last two decades.

• Storytelling is an age-old tradition as we all know. Our ancestors shared their stories over warming fires in smoke filled caves. Cave drawings were left by early man for us to remember. Many other tales were also passed down as bedtime stories, an oral tradition that still exists today in many parts of the world.

• I would like you to find your inner storyteller.

Send us your story or stories about life : births, deaths, anniversaries, betrayals, disappointments, abortions, bankruptcies, joblessness, vendettas, suicides et al; and also about travel, work, hobbies, light and dark passions, eating disorders, night shifts, cross dressing, the erotic and any other subject matter that I may have missed or forgotten. The list is endless.




Further notes from Larry Kimmel
godfather of the cherita


How to Treat a Cherita

I’ve recently been asked a number of questions about the cherita. One concerns the use of titles. In a back and forth with ai li, the creator of the form, she had this to say: “…they [titles] defeat the whole point of the cherita which is to lead you into a story or tale. A title tells you upfront what the rest of the 6 lines is all about. What would the point of writing a cherita be then?” In short, no titles, just as in tanka.

The other concerns how to refer to the cherita in its singular or its plural form. It is always ‘cherita,’ whether singular or plural. An easy way to remember is to treat it as you would ‘haiku’ or ‘tanka.’

On my website, I treat some of the aspects of the cherita, toward the end of an essay titled: “Flexible Forms: a personal speculation,” to be found on the link below :


I hope this helps further the understanding of how to treat a cherita.



copyright © the cherita 2024