April NaPoWriMo and the Triolet

April, as you might know, is National Poetry Month. Therefor, many poets see that as a chance to do the poetic version of NaNoWriMo and do NaPoWriMo, meaning 30 poems in 30 days.  A bit of a combination of writing workshop, sprint, marathon and self-flagellation. Of course, leave it to my own community of Gainesville Florida, as we call ourselves the Gainesville Poetry Collective (now spread out across many cities) to take that one step further, and decide to do 30 FORM poems in 30 days. That’s 30 different forms. We’re a merrily masochistic bunch. If you really want a wrestling match on your hands, try an old Celtic form. But I digress. We have a Facebook group page that we share it all on, and commune, and sometimes agree on what form to do that day. Which is fun because then you get to see a lot of different takes on the same form, critique and comment and compare. Yesterday we did the Triolet.

A moment, though, to talk about forms. They get a bad wrap. I admit to submitting to that. People think formal poetry and they think sing-song sonnets and start snoring. But forms are a blast. They are, admittedly, like poetry P.E. It’s work. But if you really throw yourself into it, it’s rewarding. You challenge yourself to not get sing-song, to play with it, to push against the constraints or let them push against you much like pressurized coal, and you get diamonds sometimes.

Anyways, the triolet. According to Lewis Turco, master and source of all things form, “The French triolet is an octave poem turning on only two rhymes and including two refrains: ABaAabAB.  Every line is the same metrical length.”

The trick about refrains is having them blend organically THOUGHOUT the poem. That’s the tricky part. And there’s so much opportunity in that, in using the refrain thing.

Here is the Triolet I did yesterday.

Because some times the wind shifts
and the sky knows better where you should go,
the vantage point overhead storm and mists
because sometimes the wind shifts,
beats dust and stone and insists
because sometimes the wind shifts
and the sky knows better where you should go.


Share your own in the comments if you feel so inclined!





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