Definition of villanelle in English:



  • A pastoral or lyrical poem of nineteen lines, with only two rhymes throughout, and some lines repeated.

    • ‘Those folk forms were complemented by his astute experiments with traditional forms, such as the sonnet, villanelle, and ballad.’
    • ‘At one level he was a great traditionalist, using the sonnet form extensively and experimenting with the ballad and the villanelle.’
    • ‘Does it matter whether one writes villanelles, rondels, sestinas or kyrielles?’
    • ‘I'd like to be a villanelle or a triolet or a rondel, but at the end of the day, I'm a sonnet.’
    • ‘It is said that Sylvia Plath used to write villanelles in her science lessons to relieve the tedium of the subject.’
    • ‘The forms vary from open verse to haiku to a sonnet sequence to a villanelle.’
    • ‘And there are countless things one can do as a writer - not to mention as a citizen - besides offering the world one's perfect villanelle or deconstructed lyric.’
    • ‘Whichever reaction you have; the likelihood is that if you start from Thomas's villanelle as a model, you will be setting your sights much higher than if you start from Henley.’
    • ‘What about writing sonnets and sestinas and villanelles?’
    • ‘The equivalent in poetry would be most obviously rhyme and metricality, or poetic forms that have repetition built into their progression, such as the sonnet and the villanelle.’
    • ‘But much of the poetry is the same old sestinas and villanelles you see everywhere else under the reign of new formalism.’
    • ‘We are still writing sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, even pantoums and triolets, ballades and rondels, as well as inventing ‘nonce’ forms to suit our uses.’
    • ‘There were ballades, chants royal, kyrielles, pantoums, rondeaux, rondels, rondeau redoubles, Sicilian octaves, roundels, sestinas, triolets, villanelles, and virelais to play with, and poets of varying merit had a go.’
    • ‘Think of the unforgettable verity of the perfectly phrased refrain, as in this perfect poem by Elizabeth Bishop, netted by that most obsessional and repetitive of forms, the villanelle.’
    • ‘I wanted to write a million words, a thousand sonnets to her eyes, a hundred villanelles to her lips.’
    • ‘The book abounds with sonnets, villanelles, a pantoum, sonatinas (he is also a musician) and what in my opinion is the most difficult of forms, sestinas.’
    • ‘Of the writers under review, she is the only formalist and writes sonnets, villanelles, and sestinas so fluently she can make you forget, say, that you've just read a sonnet.’
    • ‘Concealed inside its villanelles, ghazals, canzones, sonnets, and prose poems are that country's unheard voices.’
    • ‘Here, in one of her truncated villanelles, is a sample of her attitude.’
    • ‘But in my beginning classes, the first thing they have to learn until they get to that point where I see they have it under control is blues, blues-sonnets, regular sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, haikus, tankas, and odes.’


Late 19th century: from French, from Italian villanella (see villanella).