A highly structured form of poetry consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy (thirty-nine lines). The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.
A Sestina is a type of poem which consists of six stanzas. A stanza is a lyrical form of lines with a set meter. In a Sestine, each stanza has six lines, so six stanzas with six lines each. The end of a Sestina concludes with a final Stanza that consists of only three lines. This is called an envoy. An envoy is a concluding three-lined stanza at the end of a poem. An envoy is used to comment on the person or subject introduced in the Sestina. A sestina is not meant to rhyme as most poems do. It does, however, repeat the last six words of the first stanza during the rest of the poem.
There are two types of Sestina poems adapted by poets who wrote them. The double Sestina, which consists of twelve stanzas rather than six and as all Sestina, ends in an envoy. Then there is a Trinita which has only three stanzas. For each of them, there are only three lines. A Trinita's envoy is a one-liner.
Sestina Poem Example
The Concord Art Association Regrets
Your entry was not accepted. We regret
it wasn't (enough for us), a work of love.
We liked many of the colors on the whole
but the mass was just something unrelated
to the rest of our show. We hope your work
will have a bright future in another place.
We remember last year you tried to place
another photograph and it was also with regret
we turned you down. Though for that particular work
we found nothing about it (no one could) to love.
It was obscure and a little upsetting in relation
to the rest of our show which we look on as a whole.
Now you may think us ungenerous. On the whole
you are probably right, but this is our place
and we can do what we want whether you relate
to it or not. However we don't want you to regret
your association with us. We want you to love
us, send us money, but please, no more work.
You see right now we need money to work
on the building we're in. There's a hole
in the roof and one wall needs all the love
and attention it can get. Really the place
needs so much, which all costs. I regret
to remind you we need more space for related
works. We're trying to expand and relate
to lots of different kinds of work
so different people won't regret
their visit with us but will see the whole
beauty and tranquillity of the place
and come with us, a journey of love
where people of all races, colors, and creeds love
to look and bask and of course bring relations,
friends, and lovers. All are welcome to our place
here where all the world's magnificent work
can be shown in its entirety, the whole
place filled - with your exception, we regret.
We know you'll love the whole
work we're doing for this place.
We can't relate enough our regret.
(Copyright © 1983-2003 by Pam White.)