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Quatern: Poetic Forms

Robert Lee Brewer explains the quatern, a poetic form that employs refrains and eight-syllable lines in four quatrains.

Today, I tried my hand at a new (to me) French poetic form named the quatern that incorporates a refrain like in the villanelle and eight-syllable lines like in the kyrielle. Since I'm a big fan of refrains, I think this poetic form rocks.

Quatern Poetic Form Rules

  1. This poem has 16 lines broken up into 4 quatrains (or 4-line stanzas).
  2. Each line is comprised of eight syllables.
  3. The first line is the refrain. In the second stanza, the refrain appears in the second line; in the third stanza, the third line; in the fourth stanza, the fourth (and final) line.
  4. There are no rules for rhyming or iambics.

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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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My attempt at a Quatern:

as the sun set in the forest, by Robert Lee Brewer

as the sun set in the forest,
she slipped out of her slip. she left
it on a branch and then asked me
to follow. her bells became stars.

when the boomerang moon melted,
as the sun set in the forest,
her trail went cold. i tried to find
which way but only the raven

knows. the moon caught a glimpse of sun
but shadow clouds surrounded her
as the sun set in the forest.
there was nothing i could explain.

she was naked and i was scared
of not having her promises,
not that i could ever keep them,
as the sun set in the forest.

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