Jan 5, 2012 / 5 notes

Writing a Poem: A Sestina*

Whenever I try to write
more particularly a poem,
I don’t usually begin the process
through thinking of the form.
Instead, I play with words;
I mix and match words I know.

But of course, I have to know
if I am that inspired to write
for rain is not like words
which pour and form a poem
and achieve a certain form
without an effortful process. 

And as I continue this process
complicated as I always know,
I then begin thinking of a form
that suits whatever I try to write
because a poem is not a poem
if it is just a mere play of words.

Cleverness may be of words
but as implied by the process,
in terms of writing a poem,
I should also have to know
that in any attempt to write,
I should not forget the form.

Yet, I also know that form
should be justified by words—
how words are woven as I write,
create meaning in the process,
chase depth; through this I know,
complicated, it is to write a poem.


"The sestina is yet another fun, French form, and it is divided into 6 sestets (six line stanzas) and 1 triplet called an envoi which is just a concluding stanza that is half the size of the rest. Unless you wish to make the sestina harder than it already may be, it is usually unrhymed and works by repeating the end words of each line. The envoi contains, in any order, all of the six end-words. The catch is that one has to be buried in each line and another must be at the end of the line. The pattern for repeating the words is like this: (stanza A) 123456, (stanza B) 615243. This 615243 pattern is how each of the "next" stanzas are made. The first way to learn this pattern is to look at a sestina."

**This is a poem I wrote for a poetry class and was my first time to try making a Sestina. In my paper, I made an argument about how the deadline affects a poet’s goals in his craft making most especially when it deals with fixed forms. There, I said that apart from the completion of the form (in Sestina’s cases, the changes in the arrangement of the six fixed word endings), the poet is more likely to aim for substance and profoundness but all these desires, when put against a deadline which is a form of pressure, change and sometimes settle for something less.

Source: minaseestheworld.deviantart.com

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