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Poetry Competitions UK
14 Jun 2011

How to Write a Triolet

A triolet is a French poetic form dating back to the 13th Century. Unlike its counterparts at the time, this form is short and uses repetition. The triolet has eight lines, each containing eight syllables and a rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB. Lines one, four, and seven are identical. Lines two and eight are identical. Traditional triolets used iambic tetrameter in all lines, but modern poets use varying meters. A triolet can be written about any subject, but traditionally it was a short love poem. Today, the triolet's subject and use, or not, of tetrameter is a matter of personal preference.

Now, how to write a triolet...

Line one has eight syllables. It is usual to start your triolet with a statement or observation.

Line two has eight syllables and doesn't rhyme with line one.

Line three has eight syllables and rhymes with the last word of line one.

Line four is line one repeated.

Line five has eight syllables and rhymes with the last word of line one.

Line six has eight syllables and rhymes with the last word of line two.

Line seven is line one repeated.

Line eight is line two repeated.

Here is an example:

1. My love, to me you're everything (A)
2. Your lips so tender soft and sweet (B)
3. Your voice, soft as an angel's wing (a)
4. My love, to me you're everything (A)
5. When I see you, my heart, it sings (a)
6. You're the best girl I'll ever meet (b)
7. My love, to me you're everything (A)
8. Your lips so tender, soft and sweet. (B)

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