Three’s a Crowd

A poetic form that closely resembles the sonnet is the terza rima. Italian poet Dante is said to have originated this form and he used it in his epic work, The Divine Comedy.Dante-The-Divine-Comedy-Inferno-Purgatory-Paradise-Carlyle-Okey-Wicksteed-unabridged-Blackstone-Audio

The terza rima form was later used by Chaucer and eventually, English romantic poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley found the form workable for their poetry. Probably one of the most familiar English poems to employ the form is Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind. This ode offers five stanzas of fourteen lines each, with each stanza comprised of four tercets (3 lines grouped together) and a concluding couplet.

Since the foundation for terza rima is its fourteen-line format, it may be easily mistaken for a sonnet. However, the rhyme scheme (a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c, d-e-d, e-e) distinguishes it from the sonnet. (For a sonnet celebrating the sonnet form, see my post here.)  Continue reading “Three’s a Crowd”

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