Sestinas require you to write 6-line stanzas using the following patterns for the end words of your lines. The last stanza of your poem will be 3 lines long a tercet , using 2 of your chosen 6 words per line:. Stanza 1. Stanza 2. Stanza 3. Stanza 4.
Poetry Form - The Sestina
How to Write a Sestina
The sestina follows a strict pattern of the repetition of the initial six end-words of the first stanza through the remaining five six-line stanzas, culminating in a three-line envoi. The lines may be of any length, though in its initial incarnation, the sestina followed a syllabic restriction. The form is as follows, where each numeral indicates the stanza position and the letters represent end-words:. The envoi, sometimes known as the tornada, must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, in the course of the three lines so that all six recurring words appear in the final three lines. In place of a rhyme scheme, the sestina relies on end-word repetition to effect a sort of rhyme. The sestina is attributed to Arnaut Daniel, the Provencal troubadour of the twelfth century. Many twentieth-century poets have taken on the form, including Ezra Pound and John Ashbery.
How to write a sestina
Jump to navigation Skip to content. How did I become a sestinas editor? It all began with a rejection letter. But before readers commiserate, let me backtrack. The sestina is, to my mind, the one form that poets from all camps can write and appreciate.
The sestina form is thought to have been created by Provencal troubadours — and possibly by one specific troubadour, Arnaut Daniel — in around Since then, the sestina has remained a part of Anglophone poetry. You can find more background to the sestina form here. Here, we select ten of the best examples of the sestina form in all of English — and American — verse.