10-line Poem Challenge #29: Sonnetina Quattro

This week we are continuing our study of sonnetinas, or 10-line sonnets. Last week we started with the Sonnetina Cinque. That form is made by doubling a quintet of any form (two 5-line stanzas), which may be written together or with a break in between.

The Sonnetina Quattro is a sestet (6-line stanza) and a quatrain (4-line stanza), usually written in iambic tetrameter or pentameter, with alternating rhyme. The sestet is normally first, although the order could be reversed.I did not notice any particular restrictions or instructions regarding the content of the poem, like a volta (sharp turn in the thought). The volta may be understood, as that is one of the characteristics of the sonnet, or it may be totally unnecessary.

In summary, the Sonnetina Quattro is:

  • A decastich (10-line poem) written in two stanzas, a sestet and a quatrain.
  • Usually iambic tetrameter (8 syllables per line) or pentameter (10 syllables per line).
  • Rhyme scheme: ababab cdcd


Below are two samples for you. “Irons in the Fire” is written in iambic tetrameter, and I separated the sestet from the quatrain, since in this case the quatrain is a response to the sestet.

The second sample, “What’s in a Name,” is written in iambic pentameter, and I kept both stanzas together, since it is all one thought.

Irons in the Fire

The day was long and wearisome,
So many irons in the fire.
My spirit, tired, was overcome;
The hammock answered my desire,
And soon I thought I would succumb—
Unfinished chores ignited ire.

You wear yourself too think, you know.
You’ve done the same thing time again.
Pull out some irons; let them go,
Then plan your work and work your plan.

Iambic tetrameter
Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

What’s in a Name

Each day the view is different, yet the same.
The flowers take their turns at turning out.
I still don’t know the species all by name.
I new one lately has begun to sprout.
Unknown, I still enjoy it just the same—
An amaryllis, I have little doubt,
If leaf and stalk, and color can define.
A few more days, the blossom will be full,
As daily it receives both rain and shine.
Though nameless, it shall still be beautiful.

Iambic pentameter
Copyright © 2018 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

It’s Your Turn!

Now it’s time for you to write a Sonnetina Quattro. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  1. Choose a topic. It can be anything. If you’re struggling for an idea, you might consider the Daily Prompts from The Daily Post
  2. May I suggest you write on a piece of paper or in a notebook.
  3. If you are using the syllabic-count method, then down the left column write the numbers representing the syllables required for each line (typically 8 or 10). Regardless of how long you want your lines to be, they should all be the same length.
  4. If counting feet, write the number of feet you plan to incorporate (4 for tetrameter, 5 for pentameter, etc.).
  5. Across from the numbers, in the right column, write the letter for your rhyme scheme: ababab cdcd. If putting the quatrain first, then your rhyme scheme is: abab cdcdcd.
  6. Now, inside this framework, write your poem.
  7. Try to avoid filler words. Instead, use a thesaurus to find precise words that give you the right syllable count for each line.
  8. And of course, when you are finished, share your poem with the rest of us.

Don’t know how? Follow these simple steps…

  1. Write your blog post.
  2. Include the tag Decastich Challenge or 10LPC
  3. Publish your post on your blog.
  4. Come back here and click the blue button below to add your link to the others.

Dig Deeper

To find more samples and to learn from those who taught me, check out these sites. All links open in a separate tab so you can easily find your way back here.

Poet’s Collective ~ The forms on this website are not organized in alphabetical order, but he does have at least one sample poem for each form, he even has tags for rhyme scheme. He also has a visual template for every form so you can see the rhyme scheme and stress patterns, as applicable. That is extremely helpful.

Sol Magazine ~ This resource covers much more than just 10-line poems.

“Metric Forms from Pathways for the Poet” ~ This is an outline of information from Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg (1977), a book for and by educators. This resource also includes more than just 10-line poems, but it helped to fill in the gaps where my other sources were a bit scanty with their information.

Shadow Poetry ~ This is my favorite resource for learning about poetic forms (and not just the decastich), but I have discovered that there is ever so much more to learn than what I can find here. This is, however, a very good place to start.

6 Replies to “10-line Poem Challenge #29: Sonnetina Quattro”

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