Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Ottava Rima

I've floated this idea before, but folks rarely accept the challenge and I'm just not sure why. So, I'm going to offer up ottava rima one more time.

Ottava rima is an Italian form that consists of a stanza of eight lines with the rhyme scheme abababcc. In English, the lines are usually written in iambic pentameter. This form is generally associated with epic poems, but can be used for shorter poems. Here is an excerpt from Byron's poem Don Juan.
"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
I cast thee on the waters – go thy ways!
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world will find thee after many days."
When Southey 's read, and Wordsworth understood,
I can't help putting in my claim to praise –
The four first rhymes are Southey's every line:
For God's sake, reader! take them not for mine.
That's it. Your challenge for the week is to write a poem in the form of ottava rima. Leave me a comment about your work and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Thanks for the stretch...easier than I thought it would be.

    You can find my ottava rima at


  2. I don't know--I found myself pontificating. Overwriting. Heading towards a rhyme scheme.

    America on the Eve of a New President

    If our dear land can once again be great,
    The beating green heart find its resurrection;
    If we can chart the waters of our fate,
    The ship of state now passing its inspection;
    If we can find flense the flab of ignorant hate,
    Rendering it free of all infection,
    Then with our banners high we truly claim
    Ourselves united in a single name.