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English Quintet

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
English Verse

The English Quintet is a rhymed 5 line stanza or poem. There is no English word for a 5 lines of verse therefore they borrowed the Italian word quintet. Up until the 19th century English poetry was pretty much built on the couplet and quatrain. The English version of the quintet arrived at a time when most English poetry was still being written in iambic pentameter.

The defining features of the English Quintet are:

  1. stanzaic, written in any number of quintets (5 line stanzas).
  2. metered, most commonly iambic pentameter, although meter is optional.
  3. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababb, cdcdd etc.

    The Book by Judi Van Gorder

    The edges worn, blue dye rubbed white with one
    short thread hanging loose from the bottom
    and once white pages turned vanilla dun,
    the story set in Maine, a chilly autumn
    when weather moves to wool from cool cotton.

    A place familiar, visited before,
    oh not for real, through words upon the page
    read over many times with zeal, therefore
    a haven, an escape where I disengage
    from every day events, a pilgrimage.

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