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Terzanelle: Poetic Forms

The terzanelle poetic form is what happens when you mix one Italian poem (terza rima) with another Italian poem (villanelle). It's lyrical, repetitive, and concise--oh yeah, and fun!

What do you get when you mix two super popular Italian poetic forms, specifically the terza rima and villanelle? The terzanelle, of course!

It combines the lyricism of the terza rima with the repetition of the villanelle to make a powerful one-two punch in only 19 lines. The traditional stance on the terzanelle is that the lines should be written in a consistent iambic meter, but there are plenty of contemporary terzanelles that just aspire to keep the lines a consistent length throughout.

Here's the rhyme and refrain order for the Terzanelle:

A1
B
A2

b
C
B

c
D
C

d
E
D

e
F
E

f
A1
F
A2

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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.

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Here's my attempt at a Terzanelle:

"Big A"

The hardest thing to do is remember
what I just did and what I want to do.
I can still recall that one December

when both the moon and snow surrounded you
like a whisper. Am I losing my mind?
What I just did and what I want to do

vanish completely as soon as I find
the answer. The question a question mark
like a whisper, "Am I losing my mind?"

I've never felt comforted by the dark,
but I still remember that winter night
the answer, the question, and question mark

unraveled beneath the frozen moon's light
like there was something worthwhile to forget,
but I still remember that winter night

in the park in the dark when we first met.
The hardest thing to do is remember
as if there's something worthwhile to forget.
I can still recall that one December.

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