Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let's All Write Triolets

Rosa Triolet

I've just discovered poet Allison Joseph's blog, The Rondeau Roundup, which is decribed as "A blog for the exploration, appreciation and publication of the rondeau, rondel, roundel, rondeau redouble, rondolet, triolet, and ballade." In other words, a blog for poets interested in specific forms. At the blog Allison runs contests in forms. Right now she's running a contest on the triolet. There's no fee to enter. First place wins a $25 gift certificate at Amazon. Not huge, but hey, the poem is only 8 lines long and some of those lines are repeats. You have until December 28 to enter your triolet. Because the form is short, you are allowed to submit two poems. If you're unfamiliar with the form, here are the guidelines Allison provides:

* 8 lines
* Two rhymes
* 5 of the 8 lines are repeated or refrain lines
* First line repeats at the 4th and 7th lines
* Second line repeats at the 8th line
* Rhyme scheme (where an upper-case letter indicates the appearance of an identical line, while a lower-case letter indicates a rhyme with each line designated by the same lower-case or upper-case letter):

a - Rhymes with 1st line
A - Identical to 1st line
a - Rhymes with 1st line
b - Rhymes with 2nd line
A - Identical to 1st line
B - Identical to 2nd line

It might be easier to understand the rules if you see them operating in a poem. Here's one of Allison's, also posted at her blog:

A . . .Today I need your Texas wail,
B . . .your ragged voice of pain and hurt;
a . . . I need to walk your lonely trail.
A . . .Today I need your Texas wail
a . . . to buoy me up when I grow frail,
b . . . to pick me up from ash and dirt.
A . . .Today I need your Texas wail,
B . . . that ragged voice of pain and hurt.

You might want to try for 8 syllables per line, even for iambic tetrameter. I can't seem to ascertain whether the meter is required or optional, but most of the triolets I've looked at employ 8 syllables per line.

I think that the key to this form is getting a snazzy first line. Do you have an idea journal where you write down cool lines? Dip in and see if you can find something. Then just get started.

If you're into forms that capitalize on repeating lines, you might be interested in checking out a new online journal, Tilt-a-Whirl: A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms. The first issue was recently posted and looks very tempting. This journal is an off-shoot of the online journal Umbrella, both edited by Kate Bernadette Benedict. The site includes a handy "cheat sheet" of definitions.

I'm mostly a free verse poet, but I also enjoy working in forms. I find they push me in directions I might not otherwise have pursued. It's raining dogs and cats in NJ today. A perfect day for staying inside and pursuing triolets.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi, it's a very great blog.
    I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
    Keep doing!


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