Understanding and Writing
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Understanding and Writing. The Sestina. What is a Sestina?. A poem whose lines are grouped into six sestets and a concluding tercet . Thus a Sestina has 39 lines. Sestet- a stanza that is made up of six lines. Tercet- a stanza that is made up of three lines.

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Understanding and Writing

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Understanding and writing

Understanding and Writing

The Sestina


What is a sestina

What is a Sestina?

  • A poem whose lines are grouped into six sestets and a concluding tercet. Thus a Sestina has 39 lines.

Sestet- a stanza that is

made up of six

lines.

Tercet- a stanza that is

made up of three

lines.


What is a sestina1

What is a Sestina?

  • Lines may be of any length. Their length is usually consistent in a single poem.

And now… the TRICKY part.


What is a sestina2

What is a Sestina?

  • The last six words that end each of the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of lines in each of the subsequent five stanzas.

  • This kind of recurrent pattern is "lexical repetition".


Let s say this is your first stanza

Let’s say this is your* first stanza:

1

Sometimes it gets very dark. It's called nighttime.

When I think of the moon, I think of rocks not cheese. 

Thank you, technology! The headline read, "Astronauts give up." 

A statement or a command? I swear it's easier to imagine

Changing the world than it is to actually change my socks. 

But that's the inertia associated with modern ennui.

2

3

4

5

6

*from Astronauts Give Up. by Christopher Kennedy


Now take these last six words and rearrange them like this

Now take these last six words and rearrange them like this:

nighttime 1

cheese 2

up 3

imagine 4

socks 5

ennui 6


In their new order the same six words make the second stanza

In their new order, the same six words make the second stanza:

6

Though I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm filled with ennui,

I go home and wait for the deliberate erasure of nighttime

To arrive in my room while I sort my dirty socks, 

Which makes me think of a particular kind of cheese, 

The name of which I can't remember, and I give up. 

That I, or any of us, might eat such a thing is hard to imagine.

1

5

2

4

3

*from Astronauts Give Up. by Christopher Kennedy


For the rest of the poem this same technique is continued in this particular pattern

For the rest of the poem, this same technique is continuedin this particular pattern:

(I would recommend copying this down or printing it out)

Stanza

one:

Stanza two:

Stanza three:

Stanza four:

Stanza five:

Stanza six:

1

2

3

4

5

6

6

1

5

2

4

3

5

3

2

6

1

4

4

5

1

3

6

2

2

4

6

5

3

1

3

6

4

1

2

5

But wait! There’s one more stanza…


The tercet

The Tercet!

  • Remember that a tercet is a stanza of 3 lines.

  • In this situation, we make three of the previous last words into middle words:

(These are the last words in order from stanza six)

cheese 2

imagine 4

ennui 6

socks 5

up 3

nighttime 1


What if that doesn t work for me

What if that doesn’t work for me?

  • Just because you are writingin the form of a sestina, thatdoes not mean that youabsolutely MUST adhere tothis order.

  • Consider the rules somewhat malleable.

  • It is poetry, after all!

Look! Christopher Kennedy even changed his tercet’s word order. That’s completely acceptable as long as the basic poetic form stays in tact…


So for the final stanza the tercet the poet has written

So, for the final stanza (the tercet) the poet has written:

1

5

And now it's truly nighttime, the time of darning socks, 

Of standing up in the kitchen, nibbling waxy cheese. 

A more satisfying ennui I can't begin to imagine. 

3

2

6

4

*from Astronauts Give Up. by Christopher Kennedy


Understanding and writing

Now it’s time to

write your own!

{

Think of your general idea for the poem.

What do you want to say?

Use our other brainstorming techniques to

come up with a topic and idea.

FIRST:

{

Write down the six words you wish to use

in your poem.

Now, number them one through six.

SECOND:


Next put the words in the order we discussed earlier

Next, put the words in the order we discussed earlier.

1

2

3

4

5

6

5

3

2

6

1

4

6

1

5

2

4

3

4

5

1

3

6

2

3

6

4

1

2

5

2

4

6

5

3

1

  • 2

  • 4

  • 5 3


Understanding and writing

A few things to remember:

  • The lines can be any length, as long as they are all approximately the same.

  • There will be a total of 39 lines.

  • There is not a rhyme scheme.

  • Feel free to refer back to these instructional slides.

    And, as always, ask me any

    questions you might have.

Start

Over

TEKS


Understanding and writing

TEKS

§110.52. Creative and Imaginative Writing (One-Half to One Credit).

(A)  Introduction.

(1)  The study of creative and imaginative writing allows high school students to

earn one-half to one credit while developing versatility as a writer. Creative and

Imaginative Writing, a rigorous composition course, asks high school students to

demonstrate their skill in such forms of writing as essays, short stories, poetry, and

drama. All students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the

recursive nature of the writing process, effectively applying the conventions of

usage and the mechanics of written English. The student's evaluation of his/her

own writing as well as the writing of others insures that students completing this

course are able to analyze and discuss published and unpublished pieces of

writing, develop and apply criteria for effective writing, and set their own goals

as writers. For high school students whose first language is not English, the

students' native language serves as a foundation for English language acquisition

and language learning.

(2)  The student selects and uses recursive writing processes for self-initiated and

assigned writing. The student is expected to:

(A)  select and apply prewriting strategies to generate ideas, develop

voice, and plan;

(B)  develop drafts by organizing ideas such as paragraphing, outlining,

adding, and deleting;

(C)  use vocabulary, sentence structure, organization, and rhetorical

Devices appropriate to audience and purpose;


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