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WD Poetic Form Challenge: Rondel Winner

Categories: Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, WD Poetic Form Challenge, What's New.

I have a couple apologies to make. First, I don’t have the November PAD Challenge finalists and winner decided just yet (though I’m shooting to have it finished by Valentine’s Day). Second, I got completely twisted around on the rondel form (multiple times)–confusing all those capital and lowercase A’s and B’s and a’s and b’s.

As a result of my mistake, some of the rondels written were mixed up too–but I did not hold that against any of the rondels as I read them. Instead, I judged them all as if they were written the correct way. So what ultimately is the correct form? Here it is: ABba/abAB/abbaA

And let me tell you, there were many great rondels. In fact, my regular Top 10 list is this time a Top 20 list with one winner: William J. Preston.

Songstress, by William J. Preston

She sings the songs of other days,
when life was bright and love was whole;
she sings as though it were her goal
to make of blues a hymn of praise.

Her melodies recall the ways
of lilies laughing on a knoll;
she sings the songs of other days,
when life was bright and love was whole

and lovers, lost in life’s great plays,
were wont to revel in the role
of helpmeet to the other’s soul.
And so, with grace that might amaze,
she sings the songs of other days.


Congratulations, William!

And here’s the rest of the Top 20:

  1. “Songstress,” by William J. Preston
  2. “Five Years Gone,” by Kelli Simpson
  3. “Wedding Interrupted,” by Nancy Posey
  4. “Live-Oak,” by Taylor Graham
  5. “Camels,” by RJ Clarken
  6. “Whom,” by Quake Tornieri
  7. “Lambing,” by Susan Budig
  8. “The snow drifts down,” by bluerabbit47
  9. “The better part of valor,” by Andrew Kreider
  10. “Blizzard,” by William J. Preston
  11. “Rondel,” by Kris Bigalk
  12. “Uneven Ground,” by Jane Shlensky
  13. “A Cold War,” by Kit Cooley
  14. “Mismatched,” by Nancy Posey
  15. “Inspiration,” by Andrew Kreider
  16. “The Truth of Dementia,” by Susan Budig
  17. “If I Were an Origami Artist,” by RJ Clarken
  18. “Winter,” by Kate Wells
  19. “I just wonder where my cat went,” by Diana Terrill Clark
  20. “Without the Veil,” by Michael Grove


Congratulations to everyone in the Top 20! And thank you so much to everyone who participated in this challenge! As much as the rondel twisted me around, I loved reading the form, because it has a very musical quality to it.

Keep your eyes open. There’s sure to be another challenge around the corner.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

16 Responses to WD Poetic Form Challenge: Rondel Winner

  1. Sara McNulty says:

    William, that is a masterpiece of writing. Congrats to all!

    Robert, You seriously did not think we expected those results from November yet, did you?

  2. BDP says:

    Nicely done, William.

    This morning I went over the rondels again, and enjoyed them all very much now that I’m not thinking of writing one of my own.


  3. seingraham says:

    Such a lovely poem William – congratulation – a most deserving win … and kudos to all the other winners as well; beautiful rondels all.

  4. Jane Shlensky says:

    Congratulations, William and my fellow rondeleers. And thanks, Robert.

  5. DanielAri says:

    Woo! Congratulations to the winner’s circle
    including so many of my favorite people :D

  6. William, many congratulations – a wonderful piece. And to all who participated, bravo!

  7. De Jackson says:

    Hooray! What a wonderful list of poetic friends – and some major double-dippers, too! ;)
    Congratulations to all! William, your poem is just beautiful.

  8. PressOn says:

    Thank you. No, I don’t have a blog, nor do I use twitter or facebook and the like. I am an old man but new to this sort of communication; I learned of the challenge only because a friend told me about it.

  9. Linda.H says:

    A wonderful choice, Robert. As soon as I read William’s rondels during the challenge, I knew he had a great chance of winning. I love his work. I would love to see more of it. I wish his name had a blog link. No blog, William? :-(

  10. Marjory MT says:

    Wonderful selections of Randels – only wish I had not been doing (still doing) battle with my computer and missed the challenge. I like the form very much.

  11. PressOn says:

    Thank you for the kind words and the opportunity.

    William Preston

  12. laurie kolp says:

    Congratulations, William and the top 20!

  13. RJ Clarken says:

    Wow! Thanks so much, Robert! This was such a fun challenge – and there are so many amazing Rondels. William – your winning poem, Songstress, is just gorgeous! ♥♥♥

  14. Congratulations, William.
    I adore that piece. The flow is brilliant.
    Congrats, everyone! ^^

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