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01153-- What is Villanelle?




Villanelle

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is an example of a villanelle.  While this French verse form is designed to give the impression of simplicity, it is intricately patterned.  A villanelle has 19 lines, composed of five tercets (three-line stanzas), followed by a quatrain (a four-line stanza).  The poem’s first line is repeated as a refrain at the end of the second and fourth stanzas.  The last line of the first stanza is repeated at the end of the third and fifth stanzas.  Both lines reappear as the final two lines of the poem.  The rhyme scheme of a villanelle is aba for each tercet and then abaa for the quatrain.  

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