What is a Villanelle


  • Villanelles have nineteen lines divided into five three-line stanzas and a sixth stanza with four lines.
  • Villanelles are usually written in iambic pentameter,
  • Ten syllables per line, with every other syllable stressed, starting with the second syllable.

       Example:   "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" is written in a very specific form, the villanelle. The second line of this poem is

                           Old age should burn and rave at close of day

  • The meter, however, isn't a compulsion in order to make it a villanelle
  • However villanelles are required to have a specific rhyme scheme and two lines that appea as refrains
  • Like refrains in songs, they get repeated over and over
  • The rhyme scheme is ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA,
  • So there are only two rhymes that end all the lines.
  • The first line and third line which act as refrains, are repeated four times each