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Tinker

The Triolet

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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing
Light Verse
French Verse

The Triolet

The word Triolet didn't appear until 1486, but the verse form can be traced back 13th century France. It is a member of the Rondeau family as distinguished by the rentrement. (the use of the first line or phrase of the line as a refrain.) The Triolet fell in and out of favor with French poets until the 19th century when it became part of the promotion of Romance Fixed Forms by Theodore de Banville. He promoted the form as playful or satirical.

One challenge of the form is in managing the intricate repetition of lines so that it seems natural. The repeated line may vary in meaning to shift the emphasis of the poem.

"The fifth and sixth lines both support the refrain and resist it. The support coming from re-establishing some formal stability after the irregularities of the third and fourth lines; and resist it by allowing a temporary release from its apparent stranglehold, usually accompanied by an expansion of the subject matter." The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.

The elements of the Triolet are:

  1. an octa-stich, a poem in 8 lines.
  2. in English, most often written with variable line length and meter at the discretion of the poet. Originally in French, the lines were octasyllabic which would create an 8 by 8 effect.
  3. composed with a refrain created when L1 is repeated as L4 and L7. There is also repetition of L2 in L8 .
  4. rhymed, with only 2 rhymes with the rhyme scheme ABaAabAB.
  5. most often playful or satirical, appropriate for light verse or occasional verse.

    Easy is the triolet,
    If you really learn to make it!
    Once a neat refrain you get,
    Easy is the triolet.
    As you see! I pay my debt
    With another rhyme. Deuce take it,
    Easy is the triolet,
    If you really learn to make it!
                        --- Ernest Henley; British Poet (1849-1903)

    Cat Tale by Judi Van Gorder

    The kitty flips her fluffy tail
    displaying inborn-regal grace,
    her half closed eyes create a veil.
    The princess flips her fluffy tail,
    aloof and pampered tips the scale.
    With feigned disinterest on her face,
    the kitty flips her fluffy tail,
    she moves with orchestrated grace.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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