Triolet etc

Quick summary of the triolet form from

‘The triolet is a short poem of eight lines with only two rhymes used throughout. The requirements of this fixed form are straightforward: the first line is repeated in the fourth and seventh lines; the second line is repeated in the final line; and only the first two end-words are used to complete the tight rhyme scheme. Thus, the poet writes only five original lines, giving the triolet a deceptively simple appearance: ABaAabAB, where capital letters indicate repeated lines. ‘

To write a triolet was one of the prompts of 2013 NaPoWriMo, so Anna and me both attempted it. Here’s the post from NaPo where you can find examples. I don’t think I used it on the actual day it was a prompt, but it came in handy later!

Other three liner poetry forms are:


The Sedoka is an unrhymed poem made up of two three-line katauta with the following syllable counts:5/7/7, 5/7/7. A Sedoka, pair of katauta as a single poem, may address the same subject from differing perspectives. A katauta is an unrhymed three-line poem the following syllable counts: 5/7/7.

And the ever favourite Haiku:

Haiku (also called nature or seasonal haiku) is an unrhymed Japanese verse consisting of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables (5, 7, 5) or 17 syllables in all. Haiku is usually written in the present tense and focuses on nature (seasons).

I’ve always been wanting to write in terza rima for ages since seeing how well George Szirtes does it.

like a solid cloud, like an amorphous frame

for a lost world where echoes of living speech

might still be found, as if all praise or blame


or intimacy or harshness resided there, and each

of us in our enforced silence might contemplate

the mystery, and hope somehow to breach

A Terza Rima is a poem with an eleven syllable count in each line and a rhyming scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, dd. For even more of a challenge, try the Terza Rima Sonnet. This form of poem has an eleven syllable count in each line and a rhyming scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, ded, ee.

Here is Elizabeth Bishop:

The sun is blazing and the sky is blue.
Umbrellas clothe the beach in every hue.
Naked, you trot across the avenue.

Oh, never have I seen a dog so bare!
Naked and pink, without a single hair…
Startled, the passersby draw back and stare.

And I always thought of Sylvia Plath as sometimes doing free style terza rima:

Is it the sea you hear in me,

Its dissatisfactions?

Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?


Love is a shadow.

How you lie and cry after it

Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

(From Elm, for Ruth Fainlight)


The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

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Posted in Anna Percy, BeccaAudra, Events

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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