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Poetic Formats in Contemporary Poetry: A How-To Guide: Villanelles

Poetic Forms: Villanelles

Poetic Forms: Villanelles

Poetic Forms: Villanelles

from The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

(from It. villanella, a rustic song, villano, a peasant). As known today, a 19-line poem with two rhymes and two refrain lines, in the form AJoA 2abAj abA2 abA¡ abA2 abA¡ A2, where capital letters indicate refrains. Fr. poet Théodore de Banville compared the interweaving a, b, and refrain lines to "a braid of silver and gold threads, crossed with a third thread the color of a rose." Also distinctive is the quatrain occurring at the end of a series of tercets, the extra line in the last stanza furnishing a sense of closure to the repetitive pattern with a conclusive couplet. In the 16th c., however, the villanelle had no set form other than the presence of a refrain after each verse. When Fr. poets such as Joachim du Bellay and Philippe Desportes began writing lyric poems in the spirit of the villanella—a trendy It. style of song that imitated rustic dance tunes from the oral trad., although its composers were courtly and literate—the rhyme schemes varied widely, the refrain could be one to five lines in length, and there could be any number of verses, although four was the most common in both the musical and poetic versions. Many of the 16th-c. poetic villanelles were set to music by composers of the time, and references to the villanelle through the 17th c. portray it as a musical and not poetic genre.

KANE, J., French, A. L., & FRENCH, A. L. (2012). Villanelle. In R. Green, S. Cushman, & C. Cavanagh (Eds.), The Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics (4th ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.simmons.edu/login?url= https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/prpoetry/villanelle/0?institutionId=5600