Help me Rondeau! Help, help me, Rondeau! Another French poetic form

Publish date:

It's been a while since I've tackled a poetic form, but as you know, I love the French forms. The rondeau is no exception. It has a refrain and rhymes--two elements I love in many French poems. The traditional rondeau is a poem consisting of 3 stanzas, 13 original lines, and 2 refrains (of the first line of the poem) with 8 to 10 syllables per line and an A/B rhyme scheme.

The skeleton of the traditional rondeau looks like this:





I recently visited Stone Mountain in Atlanta, Georgia. It's this mountain that is basically a huge granite rock. If you're interested, here's some more information on the mountain and park:

As part of my visit, I hiked to the top of the mountain, which was exposed to very strong and very cold winds. If my boys were with me, I'd've been afraid they might blow off the mountain top. But as you'll see in my rondeau example, I'm masochistic enough to have enjoyed getting a windburnt face and sore muscles.

"Rounding Stone Mountain"

But I suppose that wasn't so bad,
finding our way to the triad
of Confederate Generals
who fought to maintain protocol
in a war that drove people mad--

when even sons fought their own dads
and the deaths of the myriad
Americans grew mystical.
But I supposed that wasn't so bad.

We saw the granite picture and
followed the yellow path, our hands
holding our hands against a crawl,
knowing we had no chance to fall,
still we fell and said, with hearts glad,
"But I suppose that wasn't so bad."


As you can see, my A rhymes were: bad, triad, mad, dads, myriad, and, hands, glad.

My B rhymes were: Generals, protocol, mystical, crawl, fall.

Yes, there was a little slant in my rhymes, but there's nothing wrong with that.


There are variations of the rondeau, including the rondeau redouble, rondel, rondel double, rondelet, roundel, and roundelay. Of course, poets tend to break the rules on each of these as well, which is what poets like to do. Because rules and poets don't get along sometimes, right?


Here are a couple other online resources on the rondeau:

* Wikipedia entry

* from Alberto Rios


Check out other Poetic Forms.


Making the Switch from Romance to Women’s Fiction

In this article, author Jennifer Probst explains the differences between romance and women's fiction, the importance of both, and how you can make the genre switch.


Stephanie Wrobel: On Writing an Unusual Hero

Author Stephanie Wrobel explains how she came to write about mental illness and how it affects familial relationships, as well as getting inside the head of an unusual character.


Who Are the Inaugural Poets for United States Presidents?

Here is a list of the inaugural poets for United States Presidential Inauguration Days from Robert Frost to Amanda Gorman. This post also touches on who an inaugural poet is and which presidents have had them at their inaugurations.


Precedent vs. President (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use precedent vs. president with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 554

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a future poem.


New Agent Alert: Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Tasneem Motala of The Rights Factory) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


Timothy Miller: The Alluring Puzzle of Fact and Fiction

Screenwriter and novelist Timothy Miller explains how he came to write historical fiction and how research can help him drive his plot.


Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido: Entertainment and Outrage

Authors Dr. Munish Batra and Keith R.A. DeCandido explain how they came to co-write their novel and why it's important to them that the readers experience outrage while reading.