Triolet Workshop

A triolet (variously pronounced triolette, or triolay, according to taste) is an eight-line form, where one line is repeated once, and another repeated twice. so that's five of the eight taken care of, as soon as you've written two lines. Not a lot of room for manoeuvre. At Ledbury on Sunday an American poet, A.E.Stallings was running a two-workshop on this eight-line verse form. Well, I thought, that’s got to be either rubbish or brilliant. It was brilliant. Totally riveting.  For 45 minutes she took us through a range of examples – Wendy Cope has a great one about poets being Byronic – offering little gems of insight, poems memorised off by heart, and occasional shafts of dry wit – “villanelles are generally much more fun to write than they are to read.”  And then we had 15 minutes in which to write our own. and then she worked around the group, us reading our poems, her commenting on rhythm, punctuation, rhymes – and possible other rhymes. I’ve never heard another poet so hooked on the beauty and variety of rhymes - sheer heaven. This is one of the few verse forms I've never attempted - just didn't think it was worth it. but on Sunday I managed three in a a day, and they won't be the last.