Bref Double: Poetic Form

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I've always been an admirer of French poetic forms, and I'm really digging the unusual flexibility offered with the bref double. It's a quatorzain, which is any stanza or poem of 14 lines that is not a sonnet.

Here are the rules for a bref double:

  • 4 stanzas: 3 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas) and 1 couplet (or 2-line stanza)
  • 3 rhymes: an A rhyme, B rhyme, and C rhyme
  • The A and B rhymes appear twice in the first 3 stanzas and once each in the couplet
  • The C rhyme is the final line in each of the quatrains
  • Each poem has a variable line length, but the lines should be consistent within each poem


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Here's my attempt at a bref double:


he lived in a city
made of elevators
and dead end alleyways
all was a box or trap

even the kids knew life
by its fistfights and strays
cats and dogs chased across
the corporation map

his first kiss was a lie
but one that was pretty
his teenage love affairs
flew through him in a snap

leaving him with gritty
women and one-act plays


It should go without saying that a WD Poetic Form Challenge is just around the corner (I'd suspect a post on Thursday or Friday).


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer's Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World's Problems. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and grew up around car factories (and even worked in one) that are now either abandoned or in the process of being torn down. As such, he has a soft spot for car shows and rust.

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