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.
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.
Here is an example of a villanelle:
"The House on the Hill"
By Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)
They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.
Through broken walls and gray
The wind blows bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.
Nor is there one today,