Monday, November 22, 2010

A Tight Little Tangled Bundle of Yarn

Okay - I admit it.  I'm hooked.


As a poet of (primarily) light verse, this is one awesome poetic form because it really does lend itself mightily to the genre.  And it's fun!

I first heard about it from Bruce Niedt who posted about it at Poetic Asides.

According to Tilt-A-Whirl, a terrific literary ezine (which has published work by both Bruce and Sara Gwen, another amazing poet who posts at Poetic Asides) the form was made popular by Rhina P. Espaillat.

Wikipedia says that the first known use of the form was by Cervantes.

According to a number of sources... 

"The "ovillejo," an old Spanish verse form that means "tight little bundle." "-ejo" is one of our blessed diminutives, and "ovillo" means "tangled ball of yarn." The last line is a "redondilla," a "little round" that collects all three of the short lines. The rhyme scheme is established, but the meter is at the poet's discretion, although in Spanish the longer lines tend to be octosyllabic. ( octosyllabic: A line of verse containing eight syllables)"

Got that?

Meaning, in ten short lines, (the way I understand it), you have 6 syllables each for lines 1,3,5,7,8,9 and 10.  Lines 2,4 and 6 each get 2 syllables.  The rhyme scheme is:


Here's an example (based on what I've written for the Poetic Asides' prompt for today, which is all about taking a stand) 


I believe in Santa!
     Can’t a
grown-up (not precisely)
get a wish fulfilled by
     the guy
whose nine reindeer can fly?
Please come down my chimney
for gingerbread and tea.
     Dear Claus, I’m standing by!

(And of course, you know I do still believe in that jolly old dude in the red suit!)

Anyway, that's about it for today.  Thanks for dropping by!  See you soon.


  1. haha Fun! Poetic structure is such a strange thing to me. I do enjoy seeing it explained and exemplified like you did, though!

  2. Thanks CNN!

    By the way, your books sounds really interesting. Are you submitting it to agents and/or publishers or self-pubbing? (Or is it already a done deal - and in which case, where do I get a copy?)