11 French Poetic Forms

Last week, I shared a list of 10 Japanese poetic forms that I’ve covered over the years. This week, I’m giving the same treatment to the French poetic forms.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I love the French forms, especially the rhymes and refrains. Click on each link below to learn more about each form.


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11 French Poetic Forms

  1. Bref Double. A French quatorzain.
  2. Dizain. 10 lines of rhymes.
  3. Kyrielle. Variable length poem with quatrains.
  4. Lai. No refrains, but tight rhymes.
  5. Quatern. Four quatrains.
  6. Rimas Dissolutas. The poem that rhymes but doesn’t.
  7. Rondeau. 15 lines of rhymes and refrains.
  8. Rondel. 13-liner with multiple refrains.
  9. Rondine. Rhymes and refrains (again) in a dozen lines.
  10. Triolet. 8-liner.
  11. Villanelle. 19 lines and super fine.

Check these forms out, try them for fun, and let me know which is your favorite in the comments below. Or let me know of French forms I still have yet to cover.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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3 thoughts on “11 French Poetic Forms

  1. BDP

    Thanks for posting this list. I agree with William that the rondelet should be added. But back to the 11 forms mentioned. I’ve used some of them over the years. And with some I followed the given link (e.g., lai, bref double, rimas dissolutas–indeed sounding like Harry Potter magic, as you say, Robert). And thus have enjoyed reading many of the fine poems posted on this website regarding those forms.

  2. PressOn

    Things are getting better: it took only 4 tries to get my previous note to post, this time.

    Hmmmm… this one might not make it: I’m getting a “502 – bad gateway” message….


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