What is a sestina?
A sestina is a highly structured form of poetry that consists of six stanzas, each containing six lines, followed by a final stanza of three lines called the envoi or tornada. What distinguishes a sestina is its intricate pattern of word repetition. In a sestina, the end words of the first stanza's lines are repeated in a specific order at the ends of lines throughout the poem. This pattern continues through the remaining stanzas, with the words rotated in a set sequence. The envoi then uses all six end words, typically two per line, and often serves as a conclusion or a summary of the themes explored in the poem. The challenge of writing a sestina lies in maintaining coherence and creativity within the constraints of its form. Writers must carefully choose their end words, as they will be repeated throughout the poem, influencing its meaning and tone. Despite its formal rigidity, the sestina allows for a wide range of expression, inviting poets to experiment with language, imagery, and narrative while adhering to its prescribed structure. Its repetitive nature can create a sense of rhythm and inevitability, enhancing the thematic resonance of the poem. As a result, the sestina remains a revered and enduring form in the world of poetry, admired for its blend of discipline and artistic freedom.
What is a sestina generator?
a sestina generator, also known as sestina maker or sestina writer, generates sestinas for you using artificial intelligence. Follow these 3 steps to generate a sestina:
- Select the type of poem: In this case, select "Sestina" from the drop-down list.
- Describe your poem: You should include the theme or subject of the sestina and any relevant information you want to be included, such as the characters' backgrounds or the setting of the poem.
- Generate the poem: Click the big "Generate poem" button and watch as the AI sestina generator does its magic. When it's finished, you can share the poem with the world, or if you're not happy, regenerate another sestina about the same topic.
How do you write a sestina?
Here are the steps to write a sestina:
- Choose your end-words: Select six words that will serve as your end-words throughout the sestina. These words should be versatile and allow for multiple interpretations and usage. They will form the foundation of your poem.
- Create your end-word pattern: Assign numbers 1 to 6 to your end-words. Create a chart or table to help you keep track of the rotation pattern for each subsequent stanza. This pattern will guide you in placing the end-words in the correct order throughout the poem.
- Write the first stanza: Begin by writing the first stanza of six lines. Each line should end with one of your chosen end-words, according to the assigned numerical order. The order in the first stanza will be 123456.
- Rotate and repeat: Move on to the subsequent stanzas, following the end-word rotation pattern you created. Repeat the assigned end-words in the appropriate order, utilizing wordplay, figurative language, and varied syntax to maintain interest and convey your chosen theme.
- Craft the envoi: The final stanza, called the envoi, is a triplet (three-line stanza). It is essential to choose a new order for your end-words that brings the poem to a satisfying close. The envoi often summarizes or concludes the poem, providing a final thought or insight.
- Revise and refine: After writing the initial draft of your sestina, review the poem for clarity, coherence, and adherence to the end-word pattern. Pay attention to the flow, imagery, and overall impact of the poem. Make any necessary adjustments to enhance the structure and strengthen the theme.
- Edit for rhythm and meter: Consider the rhythm and meter of your sestina. While there is no strict requirement for meter, you can experiment with using a consistent meter or varying the meter to create a specific effect. Pay attention to the natural rhythm of the lines and make adjustments as needed.
- Read aloud and seek feedback: Read your sestina aloud to assess its musicality, flow, and emotional impact. Listen to how the end-words create a sense of unity and progression. Consider sharing your sestina with others and gather feedback on its effectiveness. Revise further based on the feedback received.
- Finalize and polish: Make the final adjustments to your sestina, ensuring that it maintains the intricate end-word pattern and effectively conveys your chosen theme. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and formatting to present the sestina in its best possible form.
Example of a sestina
September rain falls on the house. In the failing light, the old grandmother sits in the kitchen with the child beside the Little Marvel Stove, reading the jokes from the almanac, laughing and talking to hide her tears. She thinks that her equinoctial tears and the rain that beats on the roof of the house were both foretold by the almanac, but only known to a grandmother. The iron kettle sings on the stove. She cuts some bread and says to the child, It's time for tea now; but the child is watching the teakettle's small hard tears dance like mad on the hot black stove, the way the rain must dance on the house. Tidying up, the old grandmother hangs up the clever almanac on its string. Birdlike, the almanac hovers half open above the child, hovers above the old grandmother and her teacup full of dark brown tears. She shivers and says she thinks the house feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove. It was to be, says the Marvel Stove. I know what I know, says the almanac. With crayons the child draws a rigid house and a winding pathway. Then the child puts in a man with buttons like tears and shows it proudly to the grandmother. But secretly, while the grandmother busies herself about the stove, the little moons fall down like tears from between the pages of the almanac into the flower bed the child has carefully placed in the front of the house. Time to plant tears, says the almanac. The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove and the child draws another inscrutable house.
By Elizabeth Bishop