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Picture of BobHale
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I've recently been using my blog to post a poem a day (freshly written in my down-time at Harrow.)
And I've been using those poems to demonstrate different verse forms (and show off how versatile I am Smile)

Anyway today I attempted a Villanelle. This is a tricky form and I'd love to hear your opinions on how well I've pulled it off. (Don't be afraid to tell me if it's crap.)

Now I realise that this erudite crowd will all know exactly what a villanelle is already but just in case any strangers stop by, I'll reproduce the whole post below. It includes a description of villanelles AND my attempt.

What do you think?

quote:
Pay attention. This is complicated.
There are quite a number of verse forms that have limited rhyming patterns and repeated lines. One such verse pattern is the Villanelle. This is how it works:.

There are six stanzas.
The first five are three lines each. The sixth has four lines.
The first line of the first stanza is repeated as the third line of the second stanza, the third line of the fourth stanza and the third line of the sixth stanza.
The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the third line of the third stanza, the third line of the fifth stanza and the fourth line of the sixth stanza.
In each stanza line one and line three rhyme.
All the line twos rhyme.

Did you get that? Good. There may be a test later. Anyway they are an absolute bugger to write and maintain any kind of sense. Especially as, though they don’t have any defined metre, they should at least use a consistent one. This one does – iambic pentameter, which made it an even worse bugger to write.


Then and Now

We sat there, side by side, upon the beach
And watched the distant sparks of midnight flames:
A moment when we had no need of speech.

It seemed the future might lie in our reach.
We whispered secret lovers’ language names.
We sat there side by side upon the beach.

The night and fading sparks had much to teach
Of how what happens later sometimes shames
A moment when we had no need of speech.

So many years have passed now since when, each
Describing, to the other, hoped for aims,
We sat there, side by side, upon the beach.

A bitter sermon time can sometimes preach
Of love and loss and how that loss yet blames
A moment when we had no need of speech.

Instead of thinking now upon the breach,
I wonder if, like me, somewhere she claims
We sat there side by side upon the beach,
A moment when we had no need of speech.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BobHale,
 
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Picture of zmježd
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I do like constrained writing (link, of which such verse forms as villanelle and sestina might be included). I'll take a look-see, Bob, and get back to you.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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No comments? Wow, I guess it must be perfect!
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Sorry, Bob. I am out of town and don't have a lot of time.

quote:
Now I realise that this erudite crowd will all know exactly what a villanelle is already but just in case any strangers stop by, I'll reproduce the whole post below.
I don't feel like it, but I guess I am a stranger stopping by. I've not heard of Villanelles.

I very much like it, Bob, though it looks muy dificil! There are no meter rules?

In z's link about constrained writing I was surprised that double dactyls weren't there; they seem constrained to me.
 
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I have stopped commenting on art forms (apart from limericks, of course!).


Richard English
 
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Picture of zmježd
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Bob, I'm neutral about it. While technically well crafted, it just does not have that certain spark that makes the leap across the chasm from plain old writing to poetry. It's not in bad company though, a lot of poetry strikes me that way. I'll try to compose a villanelle and post it here, so you can have a running kick at it ...

There are no meter rules?

No, there's just no set meter for the form.

In [the] link about constrained writing I was surprised that double dactyls weren't there; they seem constrained to me.

You should add them, K.

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Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
You should add them, K.

There's already a Wikipedia article about DDs so it shouldn't be too difficult.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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I'll settle for technically well-crafted for now. They are not the easiest things in the world to write.
 
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Well, I love DDs, and I think I'd like Villanelles. However, as with DDs only those who know how to write them really appreciate them. I've seen some blank looks with DDs that are absolutely delightful.

I am going to try one as soon as I am not so blankety blank busy here at this conference. I also need to write my losing limerick for the WPSI.
 
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As a result of Bob's posting of his first villanelle, I have been re-reading some books on prosody. The author of one, Philip Hobsbaum, makes this bald statement at the beginning of his second chapter of Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form:
quote:
Blank verse is the most important metre in English. It is the metre in which most of the great poetry has been written.
He then goes on to quote some examples, beginning with the Earl of Surrey, who first wrote in unrhymed iambic pentameter (in his translation of the Aeneid, in the 16th century):
quote:
They whistled all, with fixed face attent,
When Prince AEneas from the royal seat
Thus gan to speak: O Queen, it is thy will
I should renew a woe cannot be told!
How that the Greeks did spoil and overthrow
The Phrygian wealth and wailful realm of Troy.
Followed by Milton from Paradise Lost:
quote:
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse,that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'd
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.
The difference between the rhythms of these two poems, written by two poets separated by a century or so, is great. Then he compares Shakespeare with Wordworth:
quote:
If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We'ld jump the life to come.
quote:
This boy was taken from his mates, and died
In childhood, ere he was full twelve years old.
Pre-eminent in beauty is the vale
Where he was born and bred: the churchyard hangs
Upon a slope above the village-school;
And through that churchyard when my way has led
On summer-evenings, I believe that there
A long half-hour together I have stood
Mute —looking at the grave in which he lies!
With a final comparison of Tennyson in his [Idylls of the King:
quote:
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.
to Robert Browning:
quote:
I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave!
You need not clap your torches to my face.
Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see a monk!
What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the rounds,
And here you catch me at an alley's end
Where sportive ladies leave their doors ajar?
The Carmine's my cloister: hunt it up,
If you take the time to scan these verses, you'll see that iambic pentameter is almost as variable as free verse.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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What a fun thread. Hope all have not tired of it-- just returned from an "unplugged" vacation & read this.

z, your selections are illuminating. Blank verse appears to be almost an alternate variation of the language-- something we English-speakers speechify, pronounce, tell tales in. Or do you think it's just that this is the format we're 'raised on' so it comes naturally? (nature vs nurture Wink

Bob, below is my one and only villanelle, written a couple of decades ago. My poetry guru at the time told us this format, like the dance/ music for which it was named, was designed to express a "driven" quality. I agree with z, it's tough to bring it to life, tho I tried via tongue in cheek.

SAME OLD SONG (Villanelle)

You like to say I explain and explain--
that is, if you choose to break your conversational pall--
my apologies an endless refrain.

I’m sorry. Let me try to make myself plain:
when you sit like a stone, eventually finding the wherewithal
to say I ‘like to explain and explain’,

I feel the need to clarify, to gain
some kind of rejoinder, however small!
My apologies. An endless refrain,

you say, as though I were slowly driving you insane.
Yet were I to stop, what would you say? Nothing is all
you like to say. I explain and explain

why I say what I say and you won’t even deign
to enter the fray, you just call
my apologies an endless refrain--

and when I finally ask for a germaine
response-- suggest that perhaps you carry the ball...
you like to say.. I ‘explain’. So, I explain;
my apologies are endless.

(Refrain)
 
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Picture of zmježd
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Iambic pentameter is used in the Blues. I think it's more of a nurture, cultural thing. I've been looking over Beowulf, a long poem in Old English. No rhymes, but more alliteration to organize lines. No fixed meter, but two stresses per hemistich with a definite pause at the caesura. It's very different from what Chaucer and Shakespeare.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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quote:
Iambic pentameter is used in the Blues

Could you elaborate?
 
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Bob, I like your villanelle. Very sweet and smooth. It has a gentle aura. Now, write us a Chocolate!

Wordmatic
 
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WM, you've enlightened me! Heretofore I thought a villanelle was an evil girl. Confused
 
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I haven't written mine yet, but bethree's confuses me a bit. It's okay to take some liberties, like you did, with line one in the first stanza and line three in the second? I only ask because I know, from experience, it is not okay to play with any of the rules of a DD...because I have tried and gotten slapped on the hand! For example, this second line would not fly: "Catherine Spector is"...doesn't meet the standards. Now our daughter is dating a guy with the last name of "Anderson" so I say...go for it, Catherine! Wink

Z, those are great quotes and really provide a lot of evidence to support blank verse.
 
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