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Tinker

Rispetto and Heroic Rispetto

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Italian Poetry

Rispetto is a 15th century Italian verse form still popular today. It is usually a love poem, hence the name "respect" for a loved one. It is thought to be a descendant of the Tuscan Strombotto.

The defining features of the Rispetto are:

  1. a poem in 8 lines, an octave, made up of 2 quatrains.
  2. in English most often written in iambic tetrameter or it can be syllabic with lines between 8 and 12 syllables from its Italian roots.
  3. rhymed ababccdd or abababcc or abab cddc.

    Trail Boss by Judi Van Gorder

    The trail became too steep to climb,
    at least that's how it seemed to eight,
    he took the lead, left fear in time,
    their trust in him arriving late.
    The trek moved on by his command,
    the men and horses in his charge.
    A man among, he lives life large
    and it's with him I choose to stand.

  • The Heroic Rispetto is the English verse form variation of the Italian Rispetto. Staying true to the English "Heroic" definition, the Heroic Rispetto is written in iambic pentameter with the lines linked by rhyme. It is a stand alone poem in 8 lines. One could also call this an Heroic octave, both carry the same frame. However this is where the similarity ends. The Heroic Octave does not carry a theme of "respect" and the term octave infers that the poetic unit is a stanzaic form written in conjunction with other stanzas and not a stand alone poem like the Heroic Rispetto.
    The defining features of the Heroic Rispetto are:
    1. a poem in 8 lines, an octave made up of 2 quatrains.
    2. always written in iambic pentameter
    3. rhymed ababccdd or abababcc or abab cddc.

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