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photo by Kenny Louie

photo by Kenny Louie

Welcome to dVerse Poets, my name is Brian Miller and I will be your host for Form4All….err….MeetingTheBar…

Someone break out the smelling salts, I think Gay may have passed out — because I am about the last person you would think that would choose to do a form prompt. Ha.

It’s not that I dont think form is great…just a bit constraining. You know.

But be that as it may, today, we will be writing paradelles…

What you never heard of them? Well, it’s and eleventh century french form…regaled as the most demanding fixed form…and really it was all a joke / a parody of form poetry and in particular the villanelle, that billy collins pulled a few years ago…

When Billy Collins wrote Paradelle for Susan he included a note at the bottom that explained the form to be a French form, first appearing in the langue d’oc love poetry of the eleventh century.  And it fooled quite a few people. If you read his example, especially having to end the last line with “my into it was with to to” i think you will find a bit of tongue in cheek at form poetry and their rigid structures.

Here are the rules:

The paradelle is a 4-stanza poem, where each stanza consists of 6 lines.
For the first 3 stanzas, the 1st and 2nd lines should be the same; the 3rd and 4th lines should also be the same; and the 5th and 6th lines should be composed of all the words from the 1st and 3rd lines and only the words from the 1st and 3rd lines.
The final stanza should be composed of all the words in the 5th and 6th lines of the first three stanzas and only the words from the 5th and 6th lines of the first three stanzas.

I will suggest that when you get to the last stanza you may want to make you a word bank to choose from of all the words…and if you stare at them long enough, they are like those magic pictures — where all of a sudden a 3D image appears…ha.

A few examples to get you going:

Paradelle for Susan by Billy Collins

Here in the Heart of the Heart by Mary Debow

Two Years by Ken Ronkwitz

Shadow Poetry has several examples

So, give it a try…and don’t stress if you come out sounding kinda weird in that last stanza…if you remember Billy’s last line, you should be fine.

If you are new here, let me tell you how we do it:

  • Write a paradelle and post it to your webpage or blog
  • Click the Mr Linky button below and enter your name and direct web address to your poem.
  • Visit other, tell them what you liked, how it moved you, what you appreciate about their poem or some mild critique
  • If you use social media, use #dversepoets or @dversepoets so we can find you and help promote.
  • Have fun.

I will see you out on the trail. ~Brian