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Trenta Sei

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Explore the Craft of Writing
American Verse

Trenta-sei, (Italian = 36), is a modern day verse form that appears to have taken its cue from the Sestina and the Villanelle. "Like the Sestina it is a strong pattern not likely to get lost in the language of the poem" Miller Williams, Patterns of Poetry, although it seems less "thought out". The rotating repetition of lines from the first stanza brings a little feel of the Villanelle but the repetition is less obvious. The Trenta-sei was created by a 20th century American Poet, John Ciardi. The elements of theTrenta-sei are:

  1. narrative verse.
  2. usually written as accentual verse (the rhythm of today's speech) with 5 stressed syllables per line
  3. stanzaic, composed of 6 sixains, 36 lines total.
  4. rhymed, with the rhyme scheme of a heroic sestet, aB1A1B2C1C2 / B1dbdee / A1fafgg / B2hbhii / C1jcjkk / C2lclmm
  5. composed with each line (with the exception of L1) of the first stanza taking its turn as the first line of the following stanzas..
    Game Six, a trenta sei by Judi Van Gorder 10-26-02

    Bonds at bat, Rodrigues paws the mound,
    no outs, one strike, two balls, two more, a walk?
    Excited fans react with thunder stick sound
    the summer sport disciples have come to gawk.
    Illusive is the rocky road to fame,
    a national favorite, World Series game.

    No outs, one strike, two balls, two more, a walk?
    It's the top of the sixth, no runners on base
    he swings with quickening speed and powers the rock
    I watch the ball soar high---to outer space,
    and he does it again and jogs home to his fate;
    his place in history, he'll not abdicate.

    Excited fans react with thunder stick sound,
    with rattle slap and clatter, when will it stop?
    The noise so loud it shakes and rumbles the ground
    like a stampede of horses running clippity-clop
    and what is with that monkey on the stick?
    If Giants win, Angel fans will be sick!

    The summer sport disciples have come to gawk
    enjoying beer and hot dogs passing around
    while spectators cheer, others in shock.
    It's the thrill of the place, the faithful expound,
    intensity builds increasing the sound of the din
    and I pray for my team to bring home the big win.

    Illusive is the rocky road to fame,
    red clad team at home and now, down one.
    My guys on the road, with rally monkeys to tame;
    a hit, the Angels scored, now this is no fun.
    The top of the ninth, can we pull this one through?
    My stomach in knots like I just got the flu.

    A national favorite, World Series game,
    "strike three" he shouts--and number six is done,
    tomorrow tells if hopes go up in flame.
    Another nine innings and the best team has won,
    we'll call them the champs and have a parade.
    my hopes are the Giants will make the grade.

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