Chanso: Poetic Form

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Today's form is kind of cool, because it affords a bit of creativity. Let’s look at the chanso!

Chanso Poems

Chanso poems are adaptable to the needs of the poet. This French form consists of five or six stanzas with an envoy that is roughly half the size of a regular stanza. So what is a regular stanza?

That depends on what the poet decides. The main rules are that each line of the poem should have the same number of syllables, and each stanza should be uniform when it comes to length and rhyme scheme. Beyond that, the poet has final say.

So a chanso could consist of 5 tercets followed by a couplet written with an abc rhyme scheme for each line; or it could be 6 12-line stanzas with an intricate rhyme scheme that is halved to a 6-line envoy. For my example below, I went with simple quatrains.

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Here’s my attempt at a Chanso Poem:

On the Forest Moon, by Robert Lee Brewer

"3PO! Come in, 3PO! 3PO! Where could he be?"
-Luke Skywalker

With all the things I have been through,
I thought it must be obvious--
the odds good you already knew--
like R2 I've grown mischievous

and abandoned Jedi and Sith
for a vacay with my Ewoks,
who love to hear me spin a myth
and always listen when I talk.

Not that I hate on Master Luke,
though I could do without that Han,
who's quick to give a tough rebuke
every time things don't go to plan.

It's just I don't like being shot
or getting pulled into pieces.
After all, I'm not a robot
when I've got telekinesis,

or at least, that's what Ewoks think
as they sing "yub-yub" on their moon,
which was once on the very brink
of the Empire's galactic doom.

So look and you'll find me no more:
I'll be the droid you're looking for.

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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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