Week Thirty-Two: Terzanelle

Meet the Terzanelle

Having already covered the terza rima (week 30) and the villanelle (week 23),  now is a great time to introduce the Terzanelle, which is a kind of mash-up of those two very popular Italian forms. 

Key Features

Form: same as villanelle; features a total of nineteen lines, consisting of five tercets concluding in a quatrain

Rhyme: follows the terza rima’s interlocking rhyme scheme (aba-bcb-cdc, etc)

Content: features the villanelle’s repeating refrains

Meter: traditionally iambic pentameter, but modern standards are more relaxed


*For additional help getting started with this somewhat complicated form, check out the links below in the Want to Learn More section.*

Example Poem

Terzanelle in Thunderweather
Lewis Turco

This is the moment when shadows gather
under the elms, the cornices and eaves.
This is the center of thunderweather.

The birds are quiet among these white leaves
where wind stutters, starts, then moves steadily
under the elms, the cornices, and eaves–

these are our voices speaking guardedly
about the sky, of the sheets of lightning
where wind stutters, starts, then moves steadily

into our lungs, across our lips, tightening
our throats. Our eyes are speaking in the dark
about the sky, of the sheets of lightening

that illuminate moments. In the stark
shades we inhibit, there are no words for
our throats. Our eyes are speaking in the dark

of things we cannot say, cannot ignore.
This is the moment when shadows gather,
shades we inhibit. There are no words, for
this is the center of thunderweather.

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An Original Terzanelle

Terzanelle by Adam Astra

Even now, there’s some ink left in this pen;
As long as I can find an empty page,
It’s never too late to begin again.

It still feels like I’m naked on a stage
When I undress all these old doubts and dreams.
As long as I can find an empty page,

I can return to the source—that wild stream.
Years spent swimming through stacks of old notebooks
Where I undress all these old doubts and dreams.

I’ve cast out many lines without a hook,
And well, I don’t have time to dwell on my
Years spent swimming through stacks of old notebooks,

Wondering where I’ve lost the time and why.
It’s been a long journey, but now I know
Too well. I don’t have time to dwell on my

Regrets, but I’ve got time to let them go.
Even now, there’s some ink left in this pen.
It’s been a long journey, but now I know
It’s never too late to begin again.

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Want to Learn More? Start Here:

Terzanelle – Wikipedia
Terzanelle – Writer’s Digest
Terzanelle – Shadow Poetry

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Come back every Friday for a new form!

~ Creative works are owned by the author and subject to copyright laws ~

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