WD Poetic Form Challenge: Tritina

I’m so excited for this WD Poetic Form Challenge, because it’s like the sestina, but it’s much shorter. For some, this may make it easier; for others, maybe not. So what are the rules of this form?

The tritina is composed of 3 tercets and a final line that stands alone. Like the sestina, it uses a set of alternating end words–in this case three–with the pattern illustrated below.

Here’s the end word pattern of a tritina:





The final line contains all three end words (in any order).

The deadline for this challenge is January 31 at 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia, time). Tritinas should be added in the comments below. On February 1, I’ll grab and start judging.

The top tritina will make it into a future issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as an illustration of the form in my Poetic Asides column.

So pick 3 good words and get poeming!


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256 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Tritina

  1. cstewart

    Climates (a tritina)

    Tulips blind efflorescence,
    Climate within tropical rains
    Magnolia births in white.

    Magnolia dreams float,
    Tulips twice enhanced.
    Climate of pinks and yellows.

    Climates of enchanted life,
    Magnolia. Headiness of empire.
    Tulips: number the field.

    Tulips, red, petal explosion.
    Climates in early fog,
    Magnolia: remembers winter.

    Climates effusion of tulips and magnolias.

  2. Colette D

    ~ To Fuel a Fire ~

    The heart is the tinder
    and the soul is the kindling
    that fuel young boys into men.

    Fire fuels the hearts of men
    from the spark of tender tinder
    through the flames of tougher kindling.

    The boyhood soul is kindling
    for the fire within all men,
    ignited from the smallest tinder.

    Tinder sparks the kindling that fuels the fires of men.

  3. Originality


    Escape to the land of freedom, to America,
    That’s what Papa told me before he died. He said, Run for your liberty.
    Only in death was he finally at peace.

    The ship rocks amidst stormy seas, my heart allowing no peace—
    And then, from the fog, appears Ellis Island; I have arrived in America
    Where I might live in liberty

    My eyes fill with tears as I gaze upon Lady Liberty
    No more blood-sodden ground or sky sullied by the mushroom cloud: a place of peace.
    My people begin to chant, and I join, “America, America!”

    Welcome to America, they say, Land of Liberty. And my soul is at peace.

    (I don’t know why the timing is off on the boards here, but it is not yet 11:59 Atlanta, Georgia, time–it is 11:55– so my entry is not late.)

    1. Susan Budig

      Your poem, go ahead and write it as you want. 🙂

      But if you are asking Can you change the tense of a word and still have the poem denoted as a tritina, in my book: Yes. In fact, that’s one of the joys of tritinas and sestinas and other similar forms: pushing the envelop of how a word is used.

  4. Nancy Posey

    Directions for Moving On

    Even though he promised he would write,
    he only sent that single letter just before he left,
    no more than a request she forward

    all of his possessions. Was she forward
    to assume it was her right
    to take her pickings of those things he left?

    Yet she found no clues in all the things he left–
    she read his letters, family tree, the foreword 
    to a book he planned to, but would never, write–

    so looking neither left nor write, she then moved forward.


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