Sestina


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Sestina

 

a fixed verse form consisting of six six-line stanzas, usually unrhymed. The end words of the first stanza recur as end words of the second through fifth stanzas, but in a rotating order: each new stanza repeats the final words of the preceding stanza in the sequence 6–1–5–2–4–3. A three-line envoi is sometimes added which includes all six of the repeated words, one to each hemistich.

Developed by the troubadours, the sestina was introduced into Italian poetry by Petrarch. It was then transmitted to other Renaissance literatures but was never widely used. In Russian, the sestina was employed by L. A. Mei (“Again, again it sounds in my doleful soul”), L. N. Trefolev, V. la. Briusov (“Renunciation”), and M. A. Kuzmin (“I don’t believe the setting sun”). The term “sestina” is sometimes applied to any six-line stanza, in which case the form is called sestina grande.

M. L. GASPAROV

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References in periodicals archive ?
According to Agamben, the repetition of the rhyming end words in the sestina corresponds to the typological relation between past and present: the mechanism transforms chronological time into messianic time.
Sestina is one of the longest poems with rhyme and meter, and also one of the most difficult to write.
As Brunner's discussion of the pervasiveness of the sestina during the 1950s suggests, Ashbery's overt formalism does not set him at odds with a decade dominated by the New Criticism; rather, it reflects a striking accord with it.
Sometimes instead of a synopsis the structure of the upcoming poem is explained; cinquain, haiku, sonnet, sestina, and villanelle.
Passionate Voices' will feature La Sestina by Claudio Monteverdi, Missa Pange Lingua: Agnus Dei by Josquin des Pres, and Vadam et circuibo by Thomas Luis de Victoria.
Although she wrote some free verse, she writes mostly in classical forms including the quatrain, villanelle, sonnet and sestina.
Predominant "external" forms here are variations of what is unsatisfyingly called free verse, but there are a number of traditional forms, which could yield a unit on the sonnet (see the poems by Peckham, Mitchell, Meyer, Bluestone, Junkins) and the sestina (Annucci and Cone).
For instance, Ashbery might use the sestina, a form dating to the twelfth century, to relate the misadventures of Popeye.
The fact that this poem is a sestina, in which the form never feels forced or Intrudes on the flow of the poem, adds even more to the montage: the sestina was originally an Italian form, thus endowing the poem with the sixth language spoken by the garcons (after Chinese, French, English, Russian, and Japanese, as invoked in the poem's dialogue, imagery, and setting).
Is it possible that a sestina is a special form of a poem that holds mystical powers?
Koch also wrote about using the sestina form for telling a story and the power of collaborative writing.
A sestina by Frasca, a sonnet by Berisso, or a madrigal by Durante cannot be read as a mere restoration of meter.