Sometimes, repetition is so subtle that it's not recognized instantly. It's better when an author creates a poem and the reader doesn't see what's coming next. The last thing you want is to have your readers tired from reading recurring lines or words. The best advice I can give you is to keep your readers intrigued by using your repetition in a flavorful way.
For example, sestinas use repetition but if it's done the correct way there's nothing tiring about hearing the words being used more than once. Every line can sound fresh if a little creativity is put behind the poem.
Sestinas can be a tough challenge to master. It's made up of seven stanzas, the first six stanzas have six lines, while the seventh stanza has only three lines. There is a very precise and complicated pattern to the sestina's stanzas. However, since there isn't a rhyming pattern or a specific meter to follow there's still a lot of freedom in this form.
The first stanza determines the rest of your poem; the six words you use at the end each line will be repeated in different places throughout the rest of the poem. Even though you are using the repetition of words, your poem won't sound redundant if you use your words wisely.
The second stanza is created by taking the last six words you used in your first stanza and placing them in a certain order. Here's the breakdown of your second stanza:
The last word in the last line of your first stanza ends the first line in the second stanza.
The last word in the second line of your first stanza ends the fourth line in the second stanza.
The last word in the third line of your first stanza ends the last line in your second stanza.
The last word in the fourth line of your first stanza ends the last line in your fifth stanza.
The last word in the fifth line of your first stanza ends the last line in your third stanza.
The last word in the last line of your first stanza ends the first line in your second stanza.
The end words rotate their position with each of your new stanzas in the following pattern.
First Stanza- ABCDEF
Second Stanza- FAEBDC
Third Stanza- CFDABE
Fourth Stanza- ECBFAD
Fifth Stanza- DEACFB
Sixth Stanza- BDFECA
Seventh Stanza- There are three lines, using the last three ending words, and then the other three inside each line in no particular order.
If you're ever up for a challenge try your hand at writing a sestina. The outcome is very rewarding and feels like quite the accomplishment.
Related Tags: writing, advice, how to, creative writing, poetry, formats, sestinas
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