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Comparing Repetition In Sestinas And Villanelles

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Comparing Repetition In Sestinas And Villanelles
Tomo Sencer-mura
UCLR 100 Kerkering
9, Oct 2013

Comparing Repetition In The Poetic Forms Of The Sestina & The Villanelle

While both the villanelle and sestina employ repetition of words and have similar characteristics, the villanelle is a much more poetically structured form which tends to heighten its emotional tones in a lyric manner. In contrast, the sestina allows for more flexibility in its structure, and this can, for instance, result in an easier possibility to create narrative. Such differences can be seen in a comparison of Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into the night" and Alberto Rios's "Nani." While both poems are elegiac in nature, Thomas's villanelle uses its more formal qualities and repetition to emphasize its emotional tone and it’s imploring of Thomas's father. Rios's "Nani" has a more free verse feel, despite its repetitions, and it uses the sestina form to create both a sense of narrative and a more reflective mood.
The Villanelle is a short poem of fixed form, written in tercets (three rhyming lines) usually five in number, all followed by a final quatrain (four rhyming lines) all based on two rhymes. By basing the poem off of two end rhymes and repeating the two key lines, the poet creates a strong rhythmic feel to the poem, almost lyrical and song like. At the same time the strict formal structure compromises almost any narrative possibility in the poem and in a villanelle the focus is more on the expression of emotion, as in Thomas’ villanelle of loss and defiance.
Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into The Night” is written in Iambic Pentameter, as with most villanelles. He begins the poem with the lines “Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day;/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (12.) Although it is unclear whom he is talking about, it is clear he is talking about the afterlife and opposing the final moments of death. He then continues with the lines “Though

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