Sestina

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Oddities and Sestinas." Saturday Review 16 June 1956: 27.
CH Over the years, you've written in numerous traditional forms and have given readers some remarkable pantoums and sestinas. Are we ever beyond form's pull, do you think?
Fennelly shows off enviable poetic range throughout Unmentionables, writing sestinas, tercets, sprawling free verse, a fourteen-section homage to and revamping of Berryman's Dream Songs, yet she is not brassy, not showy, though it's clear you're reading a new master.
Their styles and concerns are quite different: Gingerich's poems, mainly in free verse, often turn on negotiations with "plain" Swiss Mennonite identity, while Nickel offers sonnets, sestinas and other traditional forms, with the Russian Mennonite experience of trauma and exile as her reference point.
He does this in five chapters, which focus on twentieth-century and contemporary developments of sestinas, ghazals, love sonnets, heroic couplets, and ballads.
The poems (sonnets, madrigals, eclogues, canzoni, and sestinas) are here published for the first time.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2003: A new addition to the poetry novel genre, Keesha's House is composed of sonnets and sestinas in both traditional and creative structures.
in Love Life the poem "Watch" is a haiku: "A fresh turn of phrase / The flurry and throb / Of words tuned for a first time." Yet on first reading, the form is not noticeable; likewise, the forms of O'Siadhail's sonnets, terza rimas, and sestinas are nearly invisible.
She wrote sonnets and sestinas, memorized the thesaurus, and read mythology.
The Book of the Penis (Grove, 1999); and Elephant (Groundwater Press, 1990), a chapbook of sestinas.
Like the sestinas, the canzoni's narratives break down into visual scenes that are then re-eroticized with the lover's lingering allure.
Hayes breaks villanelles (a 19-line poem that uses two rhymes) and sestinas (a poem consisting of six 6-line stanzas and a 3-line envoy) while twisting sonnets around his pen like a child prodigy who makes magenta Play-Doh when he has tired of red and blue.