Ottava Rima: Poetic Form

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For the first poetic form of 2017, let's take a look at ottava rima.

Ottava Rima Poems

With an Italian origin, the earliest known ottava rima were written by Giovanni Boccaccio. In English, Lord Byron used the form to write Don Juan. More contemporary English poets to use the form include William Butler Yeats and Kenneth Koch.

Ottava rima are 8 lines with an abababcc rhyme scheme, most commonly written in iambic pentameter (or 10-syllable lines). The form can work as a stand alone poem, or be used as connecting stanzas.


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!

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Here’s my comic books inspired attempt at an Ottava Rima:

Baton Passing, by Robert Lee Brewer

Once upon a time, or so it is said,
there was a comic hero named The Flash,
and on every cover he appeared dead
or on the cusp of dying as a rash
of crimes broke loose with no one in his stead
until they finally unveiled Kid Flash
who appealed to younger generations
with his bright colors and observations.


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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