Posted by: shorelineclusterpoets | August 20, 2014

What is a sestina?

At last night’s meeting, Lynn mentioned a sestina, which is a type of poetic form. The sestina is comprised of six stanzas, each with six lines, followed by a seventh stanza of only three lines (a tercet).  There is no pattern of rhyme, but there is a specific repetition of the end words of the first stanza throughout the poem (see below for a diagram from Wikipedia).

File:Sestina system alt.svg

For more on the form, check on the Wikipedia page and to read some examples from Elizabeth Bishop click here or here.

So, who wants to tackle this for our September meetings?



  1. its more like a math problem than a poem, not my style

  2. Thanks for the research, Rudy!

  3. I would love to try one but I can’t still understand the structure of it.  I have a few books on poetry and they are just as confusing.  Can you teach it to me (us) the next time.

    I love to try new forms of poetry and I have exhausted the sonnet and certainly not in a lofty manner!


    • Lynn,
      Yes, we can definitely discuss the sestina. I’ll see what I can do to make it as clear as possible.

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