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All FOUR One - Debbie Guzzi's Blog

About Debbie Guzzi
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Deborah Guzzi writes fulltime. When not writing she’s reading. She travels for inspiration. Her new book The Hurricane is available now through Prolific Press. Her poetry appears in: Existere - Journal of Arts and Literature in Canada, Tincture in Australia, Cha: Asian Literary Review, Hong Kong, China, Eunoia in Singapore, Vine Leaves Literary Journal in Greece, and Ribbons: Tanka Society of America’s Journal, Sounding Review, Kyso Flash, The Aurorean, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Liquid Imagination, Concis, The Tishman Review, Page & Spine and others in the USA. 

All FOUR One

Blog Posted:10/8/2012 6:06:00 PM

Soon I will have a contest for FOUR lines Verses and I am HOPING you will SEE and learn the differences in line layout.

Quatrian- Poetry Soup says: 

A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. In the basic form, Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.

Amber in the Distance

[stanza 1]

By Catie Lindsey

Violet and gray spoke of harsh rains that day,   [a]

as clouds hung low in weighted accumulation,     [b]*

then upon my face sprinkled Heaven's bouquet, [a]
slight at first, then swift in accumulation.           [b]*

ABAB = Siliian Quatrain/Iambic Pentameter

[Ah, it's called an Alternating Quatrain! If you can do this end rhyme pattern in ten syllables per line you can write a Sicilian Sonnet!]

Below are other possible endline rhyme patterns other sites say are also Quatrains.

AAAA, AABA, ABBA, ABBB, and AAAB [EVEN 4 lines without end rhyme!]


ABBA = Memoriam stanza,/iambic tetrameter 

In Memoriam

by Tennyson

Othou, new year, delaying long,

Delayest the sorrow in my blood,

That longs to burst a frozen bud

And flood a fresher throat with song.

Two of these stanzas make up the Italian Octave used in the Italian sonnet.

ABBA = Enveloped Quatrain!/iambic pentameter

"Look Before You Leap"

By Auden

The worried efforts of the busy heap,          [a]

The dirt, the imprecision, and the beer        [b]
Produce a few smart wisecracks every year; [b]
Laugh if you can, but you will have to leap.  [a]


Okies if you print this page from the site above and keep it on your desk

BOY will you be smart! 

LAST but I am sure NOT LEAST [probably the MOST USED]

Hymnal Stanza= Iambic

Line 1 tetrameter [8 syllables perline] a

Line 2 trimeter [6 syllables per line]    b

Line 3 tetrameter [8 syllables perline] c

Line 4 trimeter [6 syllables per line]    b


Other sources seem to say any grouping of a thought

 into FOUR lines is a Quatrain??

TEACHERS??? What say you? How about MUST it have meter??

Andie, Joyce, nette, David, Joann...Dee calling all smarty pants

Please Login to post a comment
Date: 10/9/2012 9:46:00 AM
debbie, the quatrain has many faces: as a four-line stanza, one of the most popular schemes is the heroic quatrain, written in iambic pentameter (to/ NIGHT)with an ABAB rhyme scheme, and a five feet meter...i am not sure if all varinats should be aimbic, but the telling part is that a quatrain, like any rhyming piece, has this sing-song effect-- a rise and fall to lend cadence to the piece.... just my 2 cents!..:) huggs!
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onclaud Avatar
nette onclaud
Date: 10/9/2012 1:35:00 PM
my new contest is soo quatrain, really..lol!..:)
onclaud Avatar
nette onclaud
Date: 10/9/2012 1:31:00 PM
try the swap quatrain too!..:)
Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 1:24:00 PM
This is the same pattern I have seen in Catie's and is also called Alternating Quatrain..okies Heroic or Alternating!! yes and my example shows IABIC PENTAMETER too! [unstress/STRESS, unstress/STRESS, unstress/STRESS, unstress/STRESS, unstress/STRESS] 10 syllables
Date: 10/9/2012 9:33:00 AM
It does seem that verse falls into two or four lines most naturally. Even a number of my free form poems break that way.
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Date: 10/9/2012 8:37:00 AM
This is a discussion I need to get into... I usually use 4 lines and should try to understand this better. Can a quatrain be AABB?
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 1:28:00 PM
That's a good question! YES It's used in the Spanish form called a Redonilla in Iambic Tetrameter[unstress/STRESS,unstress/STRESS, unstress/STRESS,unstress/STRESS] 8 syllables per line
Date: 10/9/2012 6:31:00 AM
I think I MUST be a wee bit Poetry Crazy you know I am LOVING this discussion! And Suz [is it ok to just type Suz?] you are so smart and interesting and teaching me alot & David YOU are TOO a smarty pants!
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Date: 10/9/2012 6:22:00 AM
Joann I AM NOT SKIPPING 3!! [No worries] I was just more interested in Quatrains be cause the verses which can be built from them are the type I enjoy writing ;)
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Grisetti Avatar
Joann Grisetti
Date: 10/9/2012 9:32:00 AM
Date: 10/9/2012 6:21:00 AM
OH Dee ..you know I never thought of it just that way BUT why else would you group the lines aye??[Dee said 'I WANT to say that a 'proper' quatrain is like a prose paragraph, has a beginning, middle and end"].
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Date: 10/9/2012 4:19:00 AM
BTW I see that Francine has posted a Quatrain contest.... :-)
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 4:22:00 AM
and no fewer than 5!!!! tanka poetry contests.... We are spoiled for choice here ... :-))
Date: 10/9/2012 3:44:00 AM
Firstly, the word "quatrain" refers to the number FOUR. Among the most common rhyme schemes in English, we find heroic couplets (aa, bb, cc, etc.) and quatrains (abab, cdcd, etc.), but the possible permutations are theoretically infinite. I have last week posted an article on my fb page, Water Dance, where I discuss and list various rhyming schemes, which your readers might find helpful. As a rule, when employing syllable counts to stanzas, the syllable counts need to be consistent throughout the poem (and not only per verse). It is conventional in most poetic genres that every stanza follows the same rhyme scheme, though it is possible to have interlocking rhyme scheme such as terza rima
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 3:56:00 AM
During Europe's Dark Ages, in the Middle East and especially Iran, polymath poets such as Omar Khayyam continued to popularize this form of poetry, also known as Rubaai, well beyond their borders and time. It can be AAAA, AABB, or ABAB. [From Wikipedia]
Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 3:56:00 AM
A quatrain is a stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines of verse. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China; and, continues into the 21st century, where it is seen in works published in many languages.
Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 3:53:00 AM
Maybe an update on the poetry forms available on PS (for ease of reference and comparison) plus a more detailed (in some instances) description of the poetry forms would be welcomed?
Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 3:47:00 AM
PS is not complete in their explanation of some of the poetry forms listed here. I am looking forward to your competition. Love, Suzette
Date: 10/9/2012 1:31:00 AM
Debbie, smarty pants is the last thing I am but, to me if it has four lines and lines two and four rhyme it is a quatrain, it must have meter, if it doesn't then the poem is lost, Italian sonnets easy....David
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 6:27:00 AM
YIKES meter hmmm BUT hmmm could't you say in the braod sense everything we say has meter? [I don't see too much use of meter here?]
Date: 10/8/2012 11:23:00 PM
I believe it is a quatrain if it has four lines and rhymes in any way. I prefer the 2nd and 4th lines to rhyme although I sometime rhyme first and third and 2nd and 4th both or use the couplet form. My research has found it rhymed every way even monorhyme but it think it loses the beauty of the other methods. It should definitely have meter. Joyce.
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 6:26:00 AM
UT oh..so Joyce if the 4 lines with or without end rhyme have NO meter they are NOT QUATRAIN?? Is that what you are saying?
Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 10/9/2012 4:01:00 AM
I agree with your statement, Joyce.
Date: 10/8/2012 11:06:00 PM
I love rhymes, all rhymes, will definitely check out your contest
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Date: 10/8/2012 8:46:00 PM
I will be happy to submit my entry into your contest. You have had some good ones in the past.
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Date: 10/8/2012 8:23:00 PM
I've really played with free verse through the years. Sometimes letting/words fall/ where they may/odd/ breaks... but then I read something that basically said that the WORDS themselves should be more decisive, cutting?, than the beginning or ending of verse, draw the reader to the next stanza, hold them in a line. I soon started to enjoy writing my 'free verse' in what some may see as quatrains, but are to me not quatrains (?) they are only stanzas which I've intentionally employed because I want the ink to hold the power, not long white spaces. I want..hmm...the reader to focus on what I'm saying, now the lay of the poem? I'm getting more into that. I like to write this way.
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 6:24:00 AM
line break has a BIG affect..as do long writes with NO line breaks GOOD BLOG for YOU Dee!
Date: 10/8/2012 8:04:00 PM
:) I'm no smartie pants, hon. I MUST read to discover (will be researching curtail sonnets, reading as many as I can lay my hands on, soon ) I don't just look on the internet, but usually also take out as many poetry books from the library as I can, various years, authors, & I've never really studied Quatrain. Now,that being said, I get the concept of organized thought, and mod sonnets often break the quatrain fences, lines spilling into the next quatrain or stoppin MID quatrain. I WANT to say that a 'proper' quatrain is like a prose paragraph, has a beginning, middle and end. Odd for me, huh? Yet that rebel in me (hi Craig:) ) says oh, why! FANTASTIC BLOG. Has me thinking! xox Dee Hmmm LOL
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Grisetti Avatar
Joann Grisetti
Date: 10/8/2012 8:07:00 PM
That was supposed to be on my comment. My computer is skipping all over.
Grisetti Avatar
Joann Grisetti
Date: 10/8/2012 8:05:00 PM
Are you skipping 3? Sijo and Kimo are both three lined poems.
Date: 10/8/2012 7:55:00 PM
I taught Techololgy and Career Ed. Also, Earth Science and History. Not Language anywhere. But there is the Rubaiyat (AABA)
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Guzzi Avatar
Debbie Guzzi
Date: 10/9/2012 6:18:00 AM
Great! I think I have only tried one of those! I use mostly abcb?
Date: 10/8/2012 6:34:00 PM
YUP YOU could Catie-Did! Quatrains are the building blocks of many Forms!
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