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Redondilla and Serventesio

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Spanish Verse

Redondilla Stanza (from redondo meaning round) is one of the most popular Castillian stanzas since the 16th century. It appears to have been the standard for Spanish dramatic dialogue at one time. Apparently experimentation with the form by Ezra Pound brought about a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century.

The elements of the Redondilla are:

  1. syllabic, usually written in 8 syllable lines. (In Spanish an 8 syllable line can vary to 7 0r 9 syllables depending on the placement of the last accented vowel. In English sources suggests trochaic tetrameter.)
  2. stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains however it is most often seen limiting the poem to 16 lines made up of 4 quatrains.
  3. rhymed, assonant or consonant rhyme. (Remember, consonant rhyme in Spanish prosody refers to full rhyme in English)The most common rhyme scheme abba. No where could I find a change of rhyme, this would suggest the entire poem is limited to 2 rhymes throughout. Luckily assonant rhyme is not true rhyme which could make it easier in English than if you chose "consonant rhyme". abba abba abba abba etc.
  4. called the Serventesio when rhyme abab is used.

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Irma vs Florida

In a marathon tantrum she
sucked up the ocean and then spit
it out, a kid throwing a fit
with the power to fall a tree.

Land dwellers watch the storm's decree.
To flee or stay they must submit
to the will of the wind's cruel hit
until she moves on finally.

Back through the water and debris
they return to reclaim some bit
of their life before Irma split
their safe world irrefutably.
                   ~~Judi Van Gorder.

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