Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Poetry Stretch - Villanelle

After reading Ruth's poetry Friday post about Billy Collins and his parody of the villanelle (the paradelle), I decided that the villanelle would be a good form to try.

The villanelle is a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. It is made up of five tercets and a quatrain. The rhyme schme is aba aba aba aba aba abaa. The 1st and 3rd lines from the first stanza are alternately repeated so that the 1st line becomes the last line in the second stanza, and the 3rd line becomes the last line in the third stanza and so on. The last two lines of the poem are lines 1 and 3 respectively.

You can read more about the villanelle here. Dylan Thomas' poem Do not go gentle into that good night is an excellent example. I also like the example in A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms compiled by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Here is an excerpt.
Is there a villain in your villanelle?
Just lurking, smirking in a line or two?
Read on, my dear, for only time will tell.

He'll try to show that you can't really spell.
Or hold a poem together without glue.
Is there a villain in your villanelle?

And what if you can't rhyme things very well?
Perhaps it is a plot by you-know-who.
Read on, my dear, for only time will tell.
So, will you join me? What kind of villanelle will you write? Give it a whirl and then leave me a comment about your poem. Later this week I'll post the results.

3 comments:

  1. I don't know that I'll try my hand, but I did want to say one of my favorite poems ever, Elizabeth Bishop's One Art, is a villanelle. You can read it here: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15212

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  2. Thanks, Libby. I love this. I'll be sure to include it when I post the results.

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  3. I don't think I have a new villanelle in me this week (too many things pulling me away from writing) but I will share one I produced this summer. You can find it here:

    http://havingwrit.blogspot.com/2007/06/fevered-obsession.html

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