The villanelle has been described by some as real nightmare.The form originated in France and appeared in English in the late 1800's. It is 19 lines long, but only has two rhymes, as well as two repeating lines thoughout the verse.The rhyme pattern looks like this this:
A1 b A2 a b A1 a b A2 a b A1 a b A2 a b A1 A2
The first five stanzas are triplets (three lines), and the last stanza is a quatrain (four lines). The rhyming is more complicated, however, because the 1st (A1) and 3rd (A2) lines of the first stanza are alternately repeated, with the 1st line becoming the last line of the second and the fourth stanzas, and the 3rd line becoming the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. Lines 1 and 3 are again repeated, becoming the last two lines of the final stanza.
Confused? It might help to see the villanelle format laid out like this:A villanelle needs no particular meter and no set line length, but the verse in the chapbook below uses iambic (ta DUM) meter and either four or five feet per line. The writing of a villanelle can bring out the compulsive side of any poet, but fortunately, the modern forms do allow for variation in the repetative lines. This avoids some of the sing-song rhythm that can occur when following the stricter traditional rules.
Another thing that helps the flow of the villanelle is the use of enjambment. Poetry has two basic types of line breaks: enjambed and end-stopped. Enjambed lines break in the middle of a sentence or phrase, while end-stopped lines end with punctuation.
DEVIL AND THE VILLANELLE
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Learn more about the sonnet and a collection of the various classic forms.
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A Four Book Erotic Sci Fi Series
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