The Bloggery

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Friday, 4 January 2019

Meddle with a quintilla poem

For the launch of the Meddling with Poetry course, I'm sharing 16 delicious forms of poetry I've discovered, each of them a delight to play with.

Meddle with a quintilla poem: A Spanish five-liner with plenty of rhyme. You have five lines, each with 8 syllables. Use 2 rhymes throughout, and don’t end on a rhyming couplet. That gives you lots of possible rhyme schemes: ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba. Just don’t end aa or bb!

Another nifty quickie: just five lines, each of 8 syllables, and two rhymes throughout but you can't end on a rhyming couplet. That gives you lots of possible rhyme schemes: ababa, abbab, abaab, aabab, or aabba.

Here's a draft quintilla I wrote about the hodag, using its name as an acrostic. Merriam-Webster's lovely blog introduced me to it, and it's described as "a mythical animal reported chiefly from Wisconsin and Minnesota, noted for its ugliness, lateral horns, and hooked tail, and reputed to be outstanding in both ferocity and melancholy." This one's rhyme scheme is a b a b a.

Howls tear the trees; it lashes
out in horned despair, its tail
dragging, hooked, the sap from gashes’
aromatic pine. A trail
glistens where it slumps in ashes.

And if you put two quintillas together, you get a copla real. (Both stanzas use the same rhyme scheme.)

Off you go quintillering, copla-realing if you fancy it, and beware the ferocious, melancholic hodag and the forbidden final rhyming couplet.

Note: To respect copyright, these blog posts only use my own poems as examples. On the course, I'm licensed to give my students copyright poems, so you'll see lots of others.

The next Meddling with Poetry course starts in May 2020. It explores a host of different poetry forms, as well as the musicality of language, poetic imagery, and other aspects of the poetic. Absolute beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome. You can read more details and book a place here.

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