Robby Auld here, co-editor with Sophie Klahr of Teen Sequins, an online feature spotlighting work by younger poets! In honor of it being National Poetry Month for a few more days, and our second submissions period officially opening(!!!), we thought we would offer a prompt for this Friday.
Two major examples of the villanelle are Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art” and Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night,” but the example we most want to share is from Sylvia Plath’s juvenilia, poems written before she was 24, excerpts of which are in her Collected Poems. The villanelle is entitled “To Eva Descending the Stair”:
The Academy of American Poets defines the villanelle as “a nineteen-line poem with two repeating rhymes and two refrains. The form is made up of five tercets followed by a quatrain. The first and third lines of the opening tercet are repeated alternately in the last lines of the succeeding stanzas; then in the final stanza, the refrain serves as the poem’s two concluding lines. Using capitals for the refrains and lowercase letters for the rhymes, the form could be expressed as: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2.”
Feeling inspired? Try one! Write! Write anything! Submit to Teen Sequins! We’ll be back in a few weeks with more…