Byr a Thoddaid: Poetic Form

Author:
Publish date:

I'm excited! This week, we sent the 2017 Poet's Market to the printer! That means a couple things: First, you can pre-order a copy now (click to continue); Second, I've got the time to post more now, including a new form today, a new challenge tomorrow, and a lot more next week. Woo-hoo!

Also, I've been notified on Facebook by a few poets that they're having trouble logging on and/or commenting on the blog. If this includes you (and you're having trouble letting me know), please send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com, and we'll work to get it figured out.

Byr a Thoddaid Poems

If you couldn't tell from the name, the byr a thoddaid is a Welsh form (like the gwawdodyn). Here are the rules:

  • The byr a thoddaid is a quatrain (4-line stanza) or series of quatrains
  • The quatrain itself is divided into two combined couplets (2-line stanza)
  • One couplet contains 8 syllables for each line with an aa end rhyme
  • The other couplet contains 10 syllables in the first line and 6 syllables in the second
  • The 10-syllable line of this other couplet has an end rhyme near the end of the line (but not at the end)
  • The 6-syllable line of this other couplet has a link (either rhyme, alliteration, etc.) to the end word of the 10-syllable line and then an end rhyme
  • The couplets can appear in alternating orders

I realize the explanation might sound complicated, but it's not too bad.

Here are the two main options:

X's represent non-rhyming syllables; capital letters represent rhyming syllables; lower-case letters (that aren't x's) represent the linked words/sounds/etc.

Option 1:

xxxxxxxA
xxxxxxxA
xxxxxxxBxc
xcxxxB

Option2:

xxxxxxxAxb
xbxxxA
xxxxxxxC
xxxxxxxC

Note: The linked sound in the second line of the 10-6 couplet can be the first sound, first syllable, second sound, second syllable, etc.--just as long as it's near the beginning of that second line.

*****

Master Poetic Forms!

writers_digest_guide_to_poetic_forms_robert_lee_brewer

Learn how to write sestina, shadorma, haiku, monotetra, golden shovel, and more with The Writer's Digest Guide to Poetic Forms, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This e-book covers more than 40 poetic forms and shares examples to illustrate how each form works. Discover a new universe of poetic possibilities and apply it to your poetry today!

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Byr a Thoddaid poem:

Godspeed, by Robert Lee Brewer

As the storm warned us with thunderous sounds
sending us asunder
to our individual homes
before the rain could chill our bones,

we imagined we ran for life
itself--as if the lightning might
find our footsteps and strike us dead as nails
as snails hid fast their heads.

*****

A few notes on my example:

  1. A byr a thoddaid can be as short as one stanza or run on for several.
  2. I used both structures here to show options, but I could've made either quatrain as a standalone poem.
  3. In the second line of the first stanza, I used the familiar sounds of "sounds" and "sends" (or "sxnds") to link the end of one to the beginning of the other.
  4. In the fourth line of the second stanza, I used a straight up rhyme of "as nails" with "as snails."

*****

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.

*****

Find more poetic posts here:

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.