Hello, Toads! October being upon us, the first month of the last quarter of the calendar year. Which really has not much to do with the short poetry form I’m proposing that we try today, the TRITINA.
Tritina is the more compact step-sister of sestina and villanelle, two forms that I (you?) find difficult! But somehow in this shorter version it seems manageable. Could be I’m wrong, but let’s try anyway. Tritina was invented by the American poet Marie Ponsot, who says about strict poetry forms:
“The forms create an almost bodily pleasure in the poet. What you’re doing is trying to discover. They are not restrictive. They pull things out of you. They help you remember.”
I love this and feel the same--but it’s so good to be reminded as I’ve been a bit distant from my poems and my remembering lately.
So the rules of tritina are as follows. It is a ten-line poem with three tercets and a final line, featuring three repeating, non-rhyming line-end words, like this:
The final line contains all 3 words as 1-2-3
The tritina does not have a required meter, but it is generally thought that tritina should have a consistent meter or rhythm throughout to emphasize the repetition and musical-refrain quality of the verse. The single end line is a conclusion, so tritina can be similar to a sonnet in that a turn can happen between lines 9 and 10.
Here is a wonderful example by David Yezzi: Tritina for Susannah
And here is a tritina by Marie Ponsot, so beautiful, called “Roundstone Cove.”
The wind rises. The sea snarls in the fog
far from the attentive beaches of childhood—
no picnic, no striped chairs, no sand, no sun.
Here even by day cliffs obstruct the sun;
moonlight miles out mocks this abyss of fog.
I walk big-bellied, lost in motherhood,
hunched in a shell of coat, a blindered hood.
Alone a long time, I remember sun—
poor magic effort to undo the fog.
Fog hoods me. But the hood of fog is sun.
--Marie Ponsot, from Springing, New and Selected Poems
|Marie Ponsot, American poet, born 1921|
Ready? Let’s try tritina! 1-2-3 and go!