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What is a Triolet? (1 Viewer)

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Darkkin kindly provided this information regarding the Triolet form. This ties in with the Sept PiP challenge.

A hearty thanks to Darkkin who is also one of this month's judges.

Triolet is a snack sized treat of refrain and rhymes. The basic scheme is very simple.

A1 (Primary refrain and end rhyme)
B1 (Secondary refrain and end rhyme)
a (Primary rhyme scheme, needs to rhyme with A1)
A1 (Repeat of the first line.)
a (Primary rhyme scheme, needs to rhyme with A1)
b (Secondary rhyme scheme, needs to rhyme with B1)
A1 (Repeat of the first line.)
B1 (Repeat of the second line.)


Another translation of the pattern in (if the vertical matrix doesn't work for you...)

ABaAabAB



When applied to an actual triolet it looks as follows:


Nobody Slipped

Nobody danced uncaring of risk, of rage. (A1)
Crazed porcelain, Nobody's everyday shell. (B1)
Nobody slipped, spinning, rudderless, caged. (a)
Nobody danced uncaring of risk, of rage. (A1)
The glaring, sterile kitchen: the silent stage.(a)
Nobody danced poised at the brink of hell.(b)
Nobody danced uncaring of risk, of rage.(A1)
Crazed porcelain, Nobody's everyday shell.(B1)

Wonder in the Mire

Nobody in the mud, a shattering spill— (A1)
flights of wonder bestarred with mire. (B1)
Downed, stung, tears won—bitter pill. (a)
Nobody in the mud, a shattering spill—(A1)
But so worth it! That brief, elicit thrill. (a)
Fire of the stars, feeding determined ire. (b)
Nobody in the mud, a shattering spill— (A1)
flights of wonder bestarred with mire. (B1)

Mimic of a Milkweed Seed

Little Glass Degas, mimic the milkweed seed (A1)
swirling on a delicate bite of late autumn light. (B1)
A pantomime with the blustery Mistral, freed. (a)
Little Glass Degas, mimic the milkweed seed, (A1)
lines concise, steps clean—repeat—a need. (a)
No foot wrong, head high—flow, do not fight. (b)
Little Glass Degas, mimic the milkweed seed (A1)
swirling on a delicate bite of late autumn light. (B1)

Eight lines, two refrains, two rhyme schemes. It is a lot in small space, but it is an easy form to hone one's teeth on. Essentially, it is five lines of verse. This form, because there is a lot of emphasis on the repeated lines and rhymes, forces writers to pay close attention to the pattern. You break the pattern and it is not a triolet.

The key to this form is establishing the first two lines, (the refrains). These lines need to make sense, they need to be flexible and a bit of care needs to be used when deciding the end rhymes. Don't be afraid to play around with a rhyming dictionary to give you an idea of what rhyme scheme options are available.

And while there is no set metre to the triolet, many limit line length to 10 syllables. This is not mandatory, but it is a style option that many poets have adopted.

This form is compact and can be utterly delightful. And it is a form where reading each line aloud as you go will help immensely. A couple of resources are Stephen Fry's The Ode Less Travelled (pages 255 -257). And be aware there is a typo in the pattern on page 256. It is ABaAabAB. Also check out Shadow Poetry's link.
 
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rcallaci

Staff member
Administrator
TRIOLET
The Triolet is an eight-line poem, with two rhymes and two repeating lines. The opening line occurs three times in this form. The first line is repeated as the fourth and seventh lines, the second and eight lines are the same. Some minor variations are allowed within the repeating lines, since this may enhance the poetic effect of the triolet.

Example:


Fire in the hole
The devil’s in my belly
Oh Sweet Lord ITS eating my soul
Fire in the hole
IT’S swallowing me whole
Save me Lord I’m no Machiavelli
Fire in the hole
The devil’s in my belly


In my next example I put a triolet in the middle of my poem. I mixed three styles –an ethere,(if you’re a purist a countdown-countup) senryu (which I will get to later) and a triolet. It also gives the poem a cool shape if you center it-can’t do this on lit...


(A Change of Rhythm)

Wait
Don’t leave
I’m not dead
Not yet anyway
Do you have a light?
I can hear my heart beat
Slowing, groaning and moaning
I feel a chill turn up the heat
Stay awhile and watch me fade away
Put that cigarette out I’ve had enough

the cold hand of fate
a reaper comes for his prize
last rites of a fool

Oh Father wash away all my sin
give me that passport to heaven
Hell is not a place I’d want to live in
Oh Father wash away all my sin
Please don’t make that devil win
Fix fates dice to roll a halleluiah seven
Oh Father wash away all my sin
give me that passport to heaven

an intervention
contrition reaps a reward
born again to die

Time to walk that mile to the Promised Land
Father Confessor please take my hand
Hold me up and don’t let me fall
Let me hear the sirens call
Now forever to sleep
As I take the leap
Into the night
To find light
My eyes
Close​
 
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