Tag: Verse Forms

Secret Library

What is a Villanelle?

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle introduces one of the most distinctive, and contentious, verse forms ‘What is a villanelle?’ is a question that anyone who encounters the word is likely to be stumped by, since, unlike a sonnet or a limerick, its precise structure […]


10 of the Best Sestinas in English

Selected by Dr Oliver Tearle The sestina form is thought to have been created by Provencal troubadours – and possibly by one specific troubadour, Arnaut Daniel – in around 1200. However, it didn’t arrive in English literature until the late 1570s, when both Sir Philip Sidney and Edmund Spenser, poets […]


What is Blank Verse?

Here’s a question for you: who invented both the Shakespearean sonnet and blank verse? Yes, that’s right: it was a sixteenth-century poet named … Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (c. 1517-47). It was Surrey who adapted the Italian sonnet form, devising the rhyme scheme that would later be used (and […]