a journal for eastern and western forms
Ekphrastic Sestina ~ I Dreamed A Dream
Karin Anderson, AU
I Dreamed A Dream
The sestina is a
complex form that achieves its often spectacular effects through
intricate repetition. The thirty-nine-line form is attributed to
Arnaut Daniel, the Provencal troubadour of the twelfth century.
The name "troubadour" likely comes from trobar, which means "to
invent or compose verse." The troubadours sang their verses
accompanied by music and were quite competitive, each trying to
top the next in wit, as well as complexity and difficulty of
The envoi, sometimes known as the tornada, must also include the remaining three end-words, BDF, in the course of the three lines so that all six recurring words appear in the final three lines. In place of a rhyme scheme, the sestina relies on end-word repetition to effect a sort of rhyme.
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