Welcome to the weekly series, Whittled Words. A series highlighting the innumerable types and styles of poetry to challenge any creative wordsmith. This week’s selection:
Some of these forms are older than others, and the strambotto traces back to the 13th century. This Italian form known as ottava siciliana (Sicilian octave) or strambotto popolare was the preferred form in Southern Italy, while strambotto toscano was more popular in Tuscany [hat tip to Edward Hirsch’s A Poet’s Glossary]. Today strambotto toscano is known as ottava rima.
Here are the basic rules for strambotto:
- Octave (8-line) poems or stanzas
- Hendecasyllabic (or 11-syllable) lines
- Rhyme scheme: abababab
Alternate version: There’s also a six-line variant form (still called strambotto) with hendecasyllabic lines and an ababab rhyme scheme.
Examples of Strambotto Poems:
AND I SMILED
I found a yellow crocus blooming today
amid the detritus of a season…
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