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Old 07-17-2017, 11:06 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Plum Island, MA
Posts: 10,408

I'm something of a repetend whore - loads of villanelles and triolets, even some ballades, and more recently I've been playing with terzanelles - and I have to admit that my approach probably involves more planning and less pure flow of language and poetry than I like to admit. My personal guidelines (not always used or necessary, but always there) include:

- The theme of the poem should be appropriate to the form. Sure, a villanelle doesn't have to be about obsession or repetition or being stuck in a rut - but if you're working with one of those themes the villanelle makes more sense.

- You've got to be careful that you have strong and memorable repetend lines, because the poor reader is going to be hearing them over and over. Particularly with a villanelle, strong and inter-related repetends will help write the poem.

- When the lines repeat, something should change in the way they register on the reader with each repetition. Either because of what has come before in the development of the poem's narrative line, or through changes in punctuation (in the repetend or related lines), or even in slight changes in the repetend, the repeats should do more than just echo the same message. Particularly with triolets, I see too many poems where the last two lines are just a tada repeat of the first two.

- Personally, I'm not a purist about changing a word or two in the repetend, particularly an article. It's not my first choice - I'd rather change the meaning and direction without touching words or punctuation - but if I have to I will. Purists are free to sue me.

If you want to makeyourself crazy, try a terzanelle. The need to think five lines ahead of yourself drives me nuts.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 07-19-2017 at 07:45 AM.
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