Sestina is a form of a poem that incorporates six stanzas, every stanza having six strains, while a concluding seventh stanza has three strains called “envoi,” which is likewise acknowledged as “tornada.“ As sestina derives its call from constant structure and characteristics, it's miles as famous as the sextain. Unlike different poetic forms, sestina does now not rhyme. However, it has rhythmic best resulting from the repetition of the very last six words of the first stanza that recur within the closing poem. Hence, a sestina follows the rule of thumb of an end word pattern.
Types of Sestina
Depending upon the quantity and length of stanzas, one-of-a-kind poets have changed sestinas as deliver below.
This may incorporate twelve stanzas with six strains in each stanza, and a very last tercet. For instance, in Philip Sydney’s, Ye Goatherd Gods; or the twelve stanzas with twelve traces in each stanza, and very last envoi with six traces, such as in Algernon Charles Swinburne’s, The Complaint of Lisa.
This is a contracted form of sestina, containing 3 stanzas with three strains and final one-line envoi.
Examples of Sestina in Literature
Example #1: Altaforte (By Ezra Pound)
“Damn it all! All this our South stinks peace.
You whoreson dog, Papiols, come! Let’s to music!
I have no life shop when the swords clash.
But ah! after I see the standards gold, vair, purple, opposing
And the wide fields below them flip crimson,
Then howl I my heart nigh mad with rejoicing … “
This is a perfect sestina wherein Pound uses repetitive finishing phrases, “peace,” “music,” “clash,” “opposing,” “crimson,” and “rejoicing,” respectively. As we know, sestinas have six stanzas with six traces in each stanza, which repeat the final phrases of first stanza, and this repetition occurs in the closing poem too. The same happens on this poem.
Example #2: A Miracle for Breakfast (By Elizabeth Bishop)
“At six o’clock we have been ready for espresso,
waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb
that became going to be served from a positive balcony
—like kings of old, or like a miracle.
It became nonetheless dark. One foot of the sun
steadied itself on a long ripple in the river …”
The above instance presents complex shape of sestina. The poet has time and again used the phrases “coffee,” “crumb,” “balcony,” “miracle,” “sun,” and “river,” which show even from a surface reading that those are its keywords. Towards her concluding envoi, Bishop uses all her repeated words to demonstrate the the breakfast miracle.
Example #3: Paysage Moralisé (By W. H. Auden)
“Hearing of harvests rotting within the valleys,
Seeing at cease of road the barren mountains,
Round corners coming on water,
Knowing them shipwrecked who were released for islands,
We honour founders of those starving cities
Whose honour is the picture of our sorrow …”
This instance is offering a modern shape of sestina. In this shape, again we see Auden has hired repetitive phrases like, “valleys,” “mountains,” “water,” “islands,” “cities,” and “sorrows,” which play on sensory description, creates vivid imagery in the minds of the readers, and provides rhythm to the poem.
Example #4: Farm Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape (By John Ashbury)
“The first of the undecoded messages read: “Popeye sits in thunder,
Unthought of. From that shoebox of an apartment,
From livid curtain’s hue, a tangram emerges: a country.”
Meanwhile the Sea Hag become relaxing on a inexperienced couch: “How pleasant
To spend one’s holiday en los angeles casa de Popeye,” she scratched
Her cleft chin’s solitary hair. She remembered spinach … “
This one is another perfect instance of sestina, containing six stanzas and a final envoi. Though the poem does now not have a regular rhythm, the repetition of six phrases, “thunder,” “apartment,” “country,” “pleasant,” “scratched,” and “spinach,” in the direction of the conclusion of each line, besides the final envoi, giving it a slight rhyme.
Function of Sestina
The form of sestina requires adherence to its arbitrary and strict order. Though it's miles a complex verse form, it achieves its notable effects due to complicated repetition of words, called “lexical repetition.” Therefore, it does not depend upon its meter or rhyme alone. Apart from drawing attention to its structure, this lexical repetition creates rhythm inside the poem, brings concord among diverse stanzas, complements the subject matter, maintains the idea alive within the reader’s minds, and engages them. Hence, the basic feature of sestina is to highlight an idea.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw