Lai: Poetic Forms

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The lai is another French form. It's a nine-line poem or stanza that uses an "a" and "b" rhyme following this pattern: aabaabaab. The lines with an "a" rhyme use 5 syllables; the "b" rhyme lines have 2 syllables. It feels kind of like organized skeltonic verse.

Here's an example lai I wrote:

"16," by Robert Lee Brewer

been 'round here before
I know what's in store
this way
middle of my four
miles and I'm bored
that way
each mile is four
laps and I get bored
one way

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In my version, I used a slant rhyme with "bored."

We currently have the gwawdodyn poetic form challenge running through the end of August (click to check that out), but this will probably be the next form challenge in September. Just a heads up.

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Master Poetic Forms!

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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.

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Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer's Digest Writing Community. In that role, he edits books, creates blog posts, writes a column for Writer's Digest magazine, edits a free weekly newsletter, and other fun stuff. Voted Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere in 2010, Brewer's debut full-length poetry collection, Solving the World's Problems, is hot off the presses from Press 53 (learn more). He's married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

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