Skip to main content

Dansa: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the dansa, an Occitan poetic form.

I found the dansa in Robin Skelton's The Shapes of Our Singing, and I have to say it's been fun to write. The dansa offers just enough rules to give some structure to the poem, but it still lends quite a bit of freedom to the poet. It's an Occitan (the official language of Catalonia) form with no set meter.

(Common poetry terms.)

Here are the guidelines for writing the dansa:

  • Opening quintain (or 5-line stanza) followed by quatrains (or 4-line stanzas)
  • The opening line of the first stanza is the final line of every stanza, including the first
  • Rhyme scheme in the opening stanza: AbbaA (capital A represents the refrain)
  • Rhyme scheme in all other stanzas: bbaA

No other rules for subject, length, or meter. Told you there was a lot of freedom with this one!

*****

The Complete Guide of Poetic Forms

Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

Click to continue.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Dansa:

Propriety, by Robert Lee Brewer

We never kiss and tell,
because that would be bold
and just a little cold,
like seeing snow in hell--
we never kiss and tell.

Instead, our hands we hold
unless our arms we fold
as we wish ourselves well
and never kiss and tell.

Not for big bags of gold
received until we're old
enough to break the spell
of who will kiss and tell.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 28

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 28 is remix time.

Brian Lee Durfee: On Finishing a Fantasy Trilogy

Brian Lee Durfee: On Finishing a Fantasy Trilogy

Artist and author Brian Lee Durfee discusses what it felt like to write the final sentence in his Five Warrior Angels trilogy with his novel, The Lonesome Crown.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 5 WDU Courses, our Short Short Story Competition, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce 5 WDU courses, our short short story competition deadline, and more!

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 27

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 27 is all about resolutions.

Willaims, 11:26

Preslaysa Williams: On Finding Hope in Romance

Award-winning author Preslaysa Williams discusses the process of writing her new romance novel, A Sweet Lowcountry Proposal.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 26 requires a second thought.

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

12 Books That Make Perfect Gifts This Holiday Season

Here are 12 books released in 2022 that make perfect gifts this holiday season for the reader in your life.

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Writing a Nonfiction Crime Story in a Literary Style

Rigorous research, incorporating  authentic dialogue, and adding details from true-to-life moments, author Deborah Larkin shares how she wrote a nonfiction crime story in a literary style.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 25

For the 2022 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Day 25 gets serious.