Skip to main content

Terza Rima Sonnet: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the terza rima sonnet, a 14-line Italian form.

If the terza rima sonnet sounds familiar to Poetic Form Friday regulars, there's a reason for that. We've previously covered the terza rima and also the terzanelle. While these Italian forms are related to the terza rima sonnet, it's definitely its own Italian form.

Here are the guidelines for the terza rima sonnet:

  • 14-line poem comprised of four tercets (or three-line stanzas) followed by a couplet (or two-line stanza)
  • Rhyme scheme (capitals are refrains): aba/bcb/cdc/ded/ee
  • Iambic pentameter (or 10-syllable lines for those who aren't comfortable with meter)

Note: Lewis Turco's authoritative The New Book of Forms refers to the terza rima sonnet as a quatorzain (or a 14-line poem that is not a sonnet). However, it's a little too weird for me to say that "terza rima sonnet" is not actually a "sonnet." So I'll just share that aside and let the philosophers and traditionalists duke that one out. Either way, this is a fun poem to pen.

*****

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 terza rima sonnet:

"down memory lane," by Robert Lee Brewer

beyond the pond and all the evening sounds
there's a spot that's made for a summer swoon
beneath the moon in june that we once found

while we both wandered through that afternoon
of saying one thing and then another
while we both wondered if it were too soon

to say the things said only by lovers
falling so fast we felt that we might fly
where balloons and helicopters hover

because down became up and low fell high
our empty thoughts were so saturated
with the big ideas that make all dreamers cry

out in the night that all love is fated
for better or worse i'm still elated

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

The Idaho Review: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at The Idaho Review, a literary journal accepting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions.

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Abbreviation vs. Acronym vs. Initialism (Grammar Rules)

Learn when you're using an abbreviation vs. acronym vs. initialism with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

What Is Investigative Journalism?

What Is Investigative Journalism?

Alison Hill breaks down the definition of investigative journalism, how good investigative journalism makes for sweeping societal change, and how the landscape of the work is evolving.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce six new WDU courses, a romance writing virtual conference, and more!

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.