Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fussy Little Forms: Terza Rima

Hello Toads! For our little form challenge today, let’s try invoking the rule of three in a form that allows for poems that are short or longer--the TERZA RIMA. We’ve played with three in the Garden plenty of times--think triolet or sevenling--but I don’t think we’ve tackled this form directly. It also follows nicely from the chained rhyme we worked on last time, so let’s dig in.

The terza rima has a long pedigree, having been created by Dante for The Divine Comedy, but it is really quite simple in concept. Perhaps that is why it is so long-lasting. It is a series of interlocking three-line stanzas in which the end rhyme in the second line provides the rhyme for the first and third lines of the next, like this:   A-B-A, B-C-B, C-D-C and so on, to your heart’s content.
Another famous example of terza rima with which you may be familiar:
“Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Usually the terza rima is written in iambic pentameter, but this is not required. It is suggested that the lines be the same length or syllable count, but again, not imperative. There is no limit to the number of stanzas one might include in a terza rima. One can write a terza rima sonnet as Robert Frost did above, like this: A-B-A, B-C-B, C-D-C, D-E-D, E-E

Academy of American Poets has a longer article at about terza rima that may be interesting or helpful:  ARTICLE

As a sweet-special and totally inspiring added bonus, I found audio of dearest Adrienne Rich reading her poem titled “Terza Rima,” which flies far afield from the form and, of course, amazes:  AUDIO

And here is a review of Arts of the Possible, Adrienne Rich's collection in which this poem appears:  REVIEW



WildChild47 said...

thanks for the introduction (for me) to this form Marian - as well additional info and links to help me get better familiar with it :)

I'll have to sit with it and see if my brain wants to play - but even if I skip, it's always good to learn new things.

Happy weekend everyone :)

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Loved the prompt, Marian!💞 I chose to write a Terza Rima Sonnet. Happy Weekend, everyone!💞

Bekkie Sanchez said...

I've been sick with a head cold and low fever (thankfully not the flu) for a few days so have fallen behind a little. This knocked me off of my bike for a few days too. Happy to be back!

Love this prompt and form!! I admire Frost so much and rhyme poetry of various forms is one of my favorite types to write. The majority of what I write is rhyme.

I'll be back with a poem and to read! Have a great Saturday Toads!

brudberg said...

This is a wonderful way to write poetry... the nested rhymes is one of my favorites... for me it has often been a variety of writing sonnets... as Frost has done... Hmm I think it's too late tonight to write myself one... not quite as acquainted as Frost

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh, how I loved listening to the Adrienne Rich recording! Thank you, Marian.

I've tried a terza rima sonnet, with a nod to Dante by making it 11 syllables per line – though not iambic.

And yes, I have a new blog (if it looks strange).

Happy weekend, everybody! Or whatever is left of it where you are.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I am a great fan of terza rima, alas, my muse just fainted dead away.

@ Bjorn Your comment gave me a good laugh...

And a terza rima sonnet may be impossible to resist.

Kim M. Russell said...

Thank you for the terza rima prompt, Marian, which I've only just read. I'm at my desk and ready to write. I was waiting for inspiration and the sun has appeared for the first time in days, creating a golden abstract on a downstairs window! But that might not be in the poem :)

Marian said...

Good morning, friends! I'm thrilled to see so many entries here so far. I'm wrestling with my own terza rima this morning and then will be around to read all of yours.

Linda said...

I was unfamiliar with this form. Love the example!

Susie Clevenger said...

Does Terza curse count? I don't do rhyme... Well, I don't do it well. Thanks I think for the challenge Marian.

Margaret said...

I love the name of your prompt "Fussy Little Forms"... off to try my hand at something.

Marian said...

Terza cursing! Perfect.