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Terza Rima
The terza rima is a traditional poetic form whose most renowned offspring is Dante's 'The Divine Comedy' (ca. 1300).
Obviously it wasn't first written in English, but it works just as well and is very pleasant in my opinion, especially when it's read aloud/performed.
The form is best written in iambic pentameter:
The sheep was killed by wings of fire and ice;
(the SHEEP | was KILLED | by WINGS | of FIRE | and ICE)
And yes, I know that example is horrible, but it gets the point across
The rhyming scheme is as follows:
a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e
Here is an example from Shelley's 'Ode to the West Wind':
O wild West Wing, thou breath of Autumn's being, (a)
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead (b)
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, (a)
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, (b)
Pestilence stricken multitudes: O thou (c)
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed (b)
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low
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The Ghazal
The Ghazal is an adaptation of a Persian form of poetry used to honor emperors and noblemen. A part of this poem broke off and evolved into the Ghazal. It is not a very commonly used English form as it was introduced only recently.
The Ghazal is a string of 5-15 couplets, with each couplet being able to stand alone as a complete thought and/or poem. At the end of the second line of every couplet is a 1-3 word long refrain. The word before the refrain is a rhyme that carries through the entire poem. A rhyming scheme would look like that: AA, BA, CA, DA, and so on.
The first and last couplets are special. In the first couplet, called matla, the rhyme is used in both lines. Often in the last couplet, the author's penname is used. The last couplet is the most personal one of the poem, and expresses something from the author's point of view.
Here is a Ghazal by Erin A. Thomas.
Left Barren
Once bright homes in blossom, now dead fallen,
They lay by the spinning blade's head fallen.
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Haiku is a type of poetic form as well as a way of describing and experiencing the world. A haiku is a very short, 17 syllable form. It usually consists of three lines with a 5 - 7- 5 syllable pattern. This seems deceptively simple, but the haiku form can take years to master. A well written haiku is based in the physical world of our senses, but suggests something more deep, and usually linked to nature and its existence.
However, a more modern version of haiku called free-form-haiku is more relaxed on terms of the subject (however, it must still be of a spiritual nature). The original form of haiku does not sound appealing when read aloud and the poet or reader who prefers to read poetry out loud may wish to use the free-form-haiku which can extend the syllable pattern to 6 – 8 –6 , this can sound a lot more appealing than the 5 – 7 –5 form and is becomingly increasingly popular recently.
The briefness of a haiku gives the reader attention to a single, insightful moment. Due to the a
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The Luc Bat
The Luc Bat
Many poets enjoy writing in Tri meter (six syllable lines) and Tetra meter (eight syllable lines), so this form should be fun to experiment with. Some of you who prefer lyrical poetry might find this form useful, as well as challenging, because it lends itself quite nicely to some styles of story telling as well.
The Luc Bat is a Vietnamese form of poetry, which simply means "six eight." You can see there was an influence by the French as it was The Colony of Indo China before it became Vietnam. It was introduced into Europe by the French, but for some reason never became popular.
The odd lines (1, 3, 5, etc.) are six syllables long, and the even lines (2, 4, 6 etc.) are eight syllables long, hence the title of the form. The rhyme scheme is simple as well. The last word (sixth syllable) of an odd line rhymes with the sixth syllable of the even line and the eighth syllable rhymes with the sixth syllable of the next odd line. The final even line rhymes back to the first line.
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Tanka (or Waka)
Its origin is Japan, its history since whenever. From what\'s been archaeologically found, the oldest tanka dates back to a.D. 620. Consequently, and obviously this form is far older than the haiku, which firmly established itself in the Edo era. The oldest anthology of previously made tanka is said to be made around the year a.D. 760 (This anthology is called Manyoshu and contains over 4000 poems in 20 volumes written by everybody from the emperor to normal peasants). The themes were - not surprisingly - drawn from nature and tradition, then evolved from the personal to subjective, adding Chinese influences of philosophy and culture at that time, incorporating legends and myths, and eventually weaving its way as a tool for socialization, into the lives of the aristocratic. As time went by the wordings became more honest of ones emotions and became sophisticated in form.
The form is simply 5-7-5-7-7 syllables. In Japanese, it is written on one line, or divided in two (5
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The Triolet
Triolet- Write-Up
The triolet (pronounced as tree-oh-lay) is one of the many fixed forms of verses we have today. It was invented in medieval France, and has been preserved through modern literature.
Back in the medieval ages, the triolets were short witty poems that had a ten-syllable meter to it. It was perhaps due to the lightness of this structure that the triolet was often used to express humour, although it has been said that some of the first English triolets were of spiritual content.
A triolet is a French verse of eight lines and two rhymes. Out of these eight lines, five of them are repeated or refrained lines. In the following illustration, these five lines are represented by the alphabet A/a:
A – first line of the poem
B – second line of the poem
a – rhymes with the first line
A – identical to the first line
a – rhymes with the first line
b – rhymes with the second line
A – identical to the first line
B – identical to the second line
Thus, it is
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The Ballade and Chant Royale
The Ballade
The ballade is one of the fixed forms that became so popular in France in the 14th century. The name derives from the Old Provenηal ballada, a song sung while dancing. One of the first poets given credit for perfecting the style and popularizing the form is Guillaume de Machaut.
The poem consists of three stanzas of eight lines each, followed by an envoy of four lines. Each stanza uses the same fourth, and last line, and these are also respectively, the second, and last line of the envoy. The form ends up looking like this.
One thing that makes this form a bit more challenging, is that the stanzas all share the same rhyme. By this I mean that throughout the poem, ALL of the a\'s rhyme, and All of the b\'s, and all of the C\'s. As for meter, ballades can come in any meter, as long as it\'s consistant throughout the poem.
Ballades are suited to a wide range of subjects. The repeated lines make it a good form for a
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The pantoum, or pantun, is a form originating in Malaysia which was brought to the French language by Ernest Fouinet (not Victor Hugo, contrary to popular belief). It was popularized by Victor Hugo and later Charles Beaudlaire. In a pantoum, the lines are interlocking and the first line is identical to the last line, which gives the poem a static or a cyclical feeling.
A pantoum has no set meter, but many use iambic tetrameter in the style of a ballad. The poem is comprised of any number of quatrains rhyming ABAB. Personally, I enjoy those which rhyme ABAB-BABA-ABAB and so on with only two sets of rhymes, but that is not required of a pantoum. The main ingredient in this intriguing and haunting form is the repetition.
The main element of a pantoum is the fact that the second and fourth lines of a stanza become the first and third lines of the next stanza respectively. Illustrated with letters representing the line, the structure is ABCD/BEDF/EGFH and so on. In the last stanza, s
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The Villanelle
A villanelle is a form used widely in France in the sixteenth century, and which remains popular among formal poets. Its strict repetition and rhyme scheme makes it a source of headaches and sleepless nights for those who enjoy writing them. The form lends itself better to exploration of a haunting theme than to a lyrical subject or story, simply because of the amount of repetition.
Formally, the repeated lines are strict; some people vary them somewhat, altering punctuation or a few words, to soften the form somewhat. Most villanelles are in iambic pentameter, but any meter could be used, or none. The form is made up of five tercets and a quatrain, for a total of nineteen lines. The first and third lines of the first triplet rhyme and are repeated in each stanza. Call them A1 and A2, and the rhyme/repetition scheme is as follows:
One: A1 b A2
Two: a b A1
Three: a b A2
Four: a b A1
Five: a b A2
Six: a b A1 A2
Only A1 and A2 are repeated; all the lines designated \'a\' rhyme with them,
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The word \"sestina\" comes from the Italian sesto, or six. The sestina is originally a French form, and a very old one, originating in the twelfth century in the work of Arnaut Daniel, a troubadour. It\'s lyrical and relies on the repetition of six key words and does not normally rhyme. The sestina\'s length lends itself to poems that tell stories or otherwise travel thematically, and its final stanza makes for a strong conclusion.
The form has six sextets and a final tercet. Many sestinas are in iambic pentameter, but it is not necessary; but whatever meter is chosen is usually maintained throughout a single poem--so a sestina might be in pentameter or quadramater, but not generally both.
So far, of course, it sounds simple enough; but in fact the sestina is possibly the single most difficult verse form to write, because while there is no rhyme pattern, there are six words used to end the lines of each stanza, and repeated in a carefully proscribed order until the final tercet. Essent
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Early Ballads
The exact origins of the ballads are unknown. Some propose ballads began as a communal activity, while others suggest a single composer created the form. Many ballads were lost through time. The earliest surviving ballads date back to the 14th and 15th centuries. \"King Orfeo\" is one such ballad, as it dates back to the 1400s.
These early ballads tend to be basic and not as descriptive as later ballads. Early ballads often covered several years in one or two verses. These ballads used iambic tetrameter in stanzas of four lines (aka 4-4-4-4 meter).
Ballads first really caught on with the invention of the printing press. Ballads would be printed on one side of a sheet (and thus became known as \"broadsides\") and passed from village to village. Since illiteracy was common, the ballads would be sung to a well-known tune in a public meeting place and posted for all to see. The broadside was taken down when a new one arrived. Also, since these b
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