Thursday, January 05, 2006

Buffing Sestinas

Eduardo posted a link to Jason Schneiderman's snappy Buffy Sestina the other day. This got me to thinking about sestinas again--specifically, how I generally prefer to write a sestina that pushes back against the form. Example: I wrote a "truncated" sestina with a six-syllable line, and then "bumped up" every other line so the poem was set in 3-line stanzas. This is a pretty fun way of disguising the form, since half the repeated end words are "buried" mid-line; the resulting pattern of end words isn't immediately apparent, either. You end up with seven stanzas of three lines each. Mathematically, it goes like this:

1-2/ 3-4/ 5-6 //
6-1/ 5-2/ 4-3 //
3-6/ 4-1/ 2-5 //
5-3/ 2-6/ 1-4 //
4-5/ 1-3/ 6-2 //
2-4/ 6-5/ 3-1 //
2-5/ 4-3/ 6-1 [envoi]

So I'm wondering: how do other poets approach the sestina form? Does anyone else have a specific way of tweaking it to produce something atypical?

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