Poetic Forms: Villanelle

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(Okay, I'm going to try posting this again. Apparently, this blog is anti-villanelle.)

So, the French form I had not covered yet was not the rondeau, but the villanelle. Oh well. We got a nice rondeau refresher earlier this week. (Check it out here.)

The villanelle, like the other French forms, does have many of the same properties: plenty of rhyme and repetition. This French form was actually adapted from Italian folk songs (villanella) about rural life. One of the more famous contemporary villanelles is "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," by Dylan Thomas.

The villanelle consists of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. The first and third lines of the first stanza become refrains that repeat throughout the poem. It looks like this:

A(1)
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)

a
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)

a
b
A(2)

a
b
A(1)
A(2)

Here's an example that I wrote:

Paralegal

Lawyers are not paid to be nice;
they're expected to always win.
She can say it once, say it twice,

"If you want to take their advice,
you should know before you begin:
Lawyers are not paid to be nice."

They have their sin; they have their vice--
some with drink, others with women.
She can say it once, say it twice,

because she's seen every slice--
including both women and men--
"Lawyers are not paid to be nice."

But if you have suffered malice
and do not want to lose again,
she can say it once, say it twice,

"If you want to win, pay the price;
let the legal process begin."
Lawyers are not paid to be nice;
she can say it once, say it twice.

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Check out the Wikipedia entry for villanelle by clicking here.

Check out the Poets.org entry for villanelle by clicking here.

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