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Write a Villanelle



Write a Villanelle
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.12

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    repetitious, rhymes-the, villainy, villanelles, quatrain, fancy-play, villanelle, lowercase, template, pentameter, apiece, refrain, stanza, sunken, couplet, scheme
     content words:    By Edwin Arlington Robinson


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Write a Villanelle
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     A villanelle is formal. A villanelle is strict. You may think that it is villainy to be forced to write a villanelle. You may have never heard of a villanelle before! This form of poetry evolved in the late 1800s in appreciation of a French poem written during the Renaissance.
 
2     A villanelle is a nineteen-line poem. It includes repeated lines and a strict rhyme scheme. There are only two rhymes represented in the entire poem. There are six stanzas in a villanelle. The first five stanzas have three lines apiece. The final stanza is a quatrain of four lines.
 
3     Here is an example of a villanelle:
 
4     
The House on the Hill
By Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)
 
5     
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.
 
6     
Through broken walls and gray
The wind blows bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.
 
7     
Nor is there one today,
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.
 
8     
Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,
 
9     
And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.
 
10     
There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.
 
11     Did you notice the repetitious lines throughout the poem? Let's look at a template for a villanelle. A1 and A2 represent the repeating lines because they rhyme. The lowercase "a" and "b" represent the end rhymes of the other lines. Notice where the repeating lines fall in the poem. Each is used four times.
 
12     Template:
 
13     
A1
b
A2
 
14     
a
b
A1

Paragraphs 15 to 28:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable



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