The villanelle is a French poetic form consisting of five three-line verses and a sixth four-line verse. The first and third lines of the first verse are repeated alternately as the last line of the next four verses and then placed together as the ending couplet of the last verse. In addition, the five three-line verses all rhyme aba, with the last verse rhyming abaa. Thus there are only two rhymes in the entire poem. In most villanelles the repetition is light and graceful, but in some, including the most famous one, Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," the repetition is used to express powerful emotion.
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
By Dylan Thomas. The most famous example of the form in English.
Pan - Double Villanelle
By Oscar Wilde.
Poetic Form: Villanelle
An explanation of the form, with the example of Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" and a link to Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art," from the Academy of American Poets.
Poetry Form - The Villanelle
A description and explanation of the form, with examples and a step-by-step guide to writing one.
Poetry Knowledge Zone: Villanelle
Explanation, history, and step-by-step instructions for writing by Smitha Chakravarthula. Includes examples.
The Rapist's Villanelle
By Tom Disch.
Theocritus: a Villanelle
By Oscar Wilde.
A description of the form with examples by Suzanne Honour.
Descriptions and examples from a course taught by Alberto Rios.
By W.H. Auden
By William Empson.
Villanelle at Sundown
By Donald Justice.
Villanelle of Change
By Edwin Arlington Robinson.
Villanelles for Free
A collection by Nicholas Gordon that can be used free for any personal or non-commercial purpose.
Last update:April 26, 2013 at 5:59:40 UTC