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A sestina is a 39-line linked poetic form believed to have been invented by Arnaut Daniel (c. 1180-1200), aProvençal troubador poet who inspired Dante such that he appears in The Purgatory as a model for the vernacular poet.
Here is what people mean by “linked.” Instead of there being a rhyme scheme or even a set meter like many other fixed forms of poetry, a sestina follows to a set pattern of end-words, or teleutons, which appear at the end of each line.
Sestinas are structured into six six-line stanzas. The initial end words of each of these six stanzas are then repeated in a specific pattern as end words in each subsequent stanza. The poem ends with a final three-line stanza, or envoi, which uses all six end-words as a triumphant send-off.