Villainous Villanelle Contest

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By PoetryPlease   |   Watch
11 4 2K (1 Today)
Published: September 15, 2008
Contest Results


1st: Ginger Bread by *vix0r
2nd: Mirror, Mirror by ~Itti
People's Choice: Poverty by =TEC-ThePenOfMerlin

Honourable Mentions:

Last Spiteful Breath by ~Diptonite
Hooded by *Blueskye27


The judges who helped select the winners were: *PunknEra, ~isabellakay, ~cypher-neo, `Beccalicious, *BerylAlexandros, *ThornyEnglishRose.


1st Place:

30 devDollars from the ArtistRelations Team
a Fella Plushie from the ArtistRelations Team
a dA keychain donated by `Beccalicious
a one-year sub or an item on your wishlist up to $30 donated by *PunknEra
a journal feature donated by *PunknEra
a journal feature donated by ~isabellakay
a journal feature donated by =WineWriter
a journal feature donated by *ThornyEnglishRose
a journal feature donated by *BerylAlexandros
a journal feature donated by ~cypher-neo

2nd Place:

15 devDollars from the ArtistRelations Team
an Accessory Pack from the ArtistRelations Team
a journal feature donated by *PunknEra
a journal feature donated by ~isabellakay
a journal feature donated by =WineWriter
a journal feature donated by *ThornyEnglishRose
a journal feature donated by *BerylAlexandros
a journal feature donated by ~cypher-neo

People's Choice Award
*determined by type/amount of interest and comments an entry receives

10 devDollars from the ArtistRelations Team
a journal feature donated by *PunknEra
a journal feature donated by ~isabellakay
a journal feature donated by =WineWriter
a journal feature donated by *ThornyEnglishRose
a journal feature donated by *BerylAlexandros
a journal feature donated by ~cypher-neo

Contest Entries

Mirror, Mirror by ~Itti
Eyes So Bright by ~PrincessGwyneth
Iron Shoes by ~littlemistress
Little Man by ~xDarkLight31x
Nameless Queen by ~phoenixmemory
Lazy Dreamers by ~Ella-kayleigh
Never Talk to Strangers by ~distrubed-seedling
Consider Me You Saving Grace by *Jazzman1989
Rumplestiltskin's Glee by ~TheTwelve
Agony of a Stepmother Wronged by ~middleearthhare
A Deal With a Dwarf by =peterdawes
Toys In a Twisted Game by ~DarcRose22
Bluebeard's Verdict by ~52Cardds
Poverty by =TEC-ThePenOfMerlin
Mordred by ~Deathwriter08
Unleashed by *Out-Of-Spite
Mister Propp has told me to by =UnfeelingAlloy
Hooked by ~Prosaic-Scriptor
Last Spiteful Breath by ~Diptonite
Jealous Hate by *Beyond-the-Pages
Determination by `fllnthblnk
Ginger Bread by *vix0r
Fear his Fall by ~Ein-Kaltes-Herz
Hooded by *Blueskye27
Snow Queen Redux by ~revell
Grandmother Yaga by ~blackcirclewalker
Rumpelstiltskin Comp. Entry by ~babyhippy123
Chernabog by *meljoy68
Soul's Mirror by ~Aruchel
What Is Unfair Is Fair by ~poet-irish-taurus
The King of Murderous Love by ~A-li-ta-ma
Nibble nibble little mouse by ~Shira-Yuri
Beautiful Poison by *kittiem
Gargamel Villanelle by *ardunt

Contest Details


We are asking you to choose a fairy tale villain, then write a poem from their perspective in the form of a villanelle. We want you to be creative in your interpretation: you can paint them in a sympathetic light, you can try to persuade the reader into seeing things from their point of view, and/or you can focus on their vices/obsession, etc. The point is the interaction of theme and structure in this piece, so keep reading to fully understand what we mean by that.

Structure:  In the traditional form, a villanelle is a poem of 19 lines. It has six stanzas: the first five stanzas have three lines and the sixth stanza has four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABA in the first five stanzas, and ABAA in the last stanza. Now here's where it gets tricky (but is of utmost importance): the first line of the first stanza and third line of the first stanza each repeat throughout the poem. The first line of the first stanza is also the last line of the second and fourth stanzas while the third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth stanzas. They then repeat one last time in the fifth stanza to become the second to last and last line of the poem respectively. Now that's hard to understand in written form, so here are a few examples for you to read:
A CLASSIC- Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”
A CONTEMPORARY- Roethke’s “The Waking”
JUST FOR FUN- Burgess' "Villanelle of Things Amusing"

As you can see, Theodore Roethke experimented a little with the rigidity of the form, not always using exact line repetitions, while the other two maintained the traditional style. You may also have noticed that while there is no strict meter for each line, all three employed a regular rhythm. We would prefer that you to write a traditional villanelle without deviating from the form-- after all, it is unwise to start experimenting with something you haven't first mastered. I'd hate to see a lion tamer stick his head in without first being sure the beast is on his side.

Please don’t see the strict form as a limitation but as a challenge: structured poetry is much less traversed these days and takes tremendous talent to execute with skill. While we would prefer that you stick to the traditional form, feel free to experiment with the content. And if you sincerely feel that you've already mastered the structure (and our excellent panel of judges will know if you haven't), then you may even play with the form. Think outside the box if you dare!

One of our excellent judges, ~cypher-neo has designed a Villanelle Maker for those beginners that would like to ease the structural process. If you'd like to download it (it's an open office spreadsheet) and test it out, it may give you a better handle on the form. However, beware lest the structure squash your creativity!

Theme:  Here's what we mean by "fairy tale": Fairy tales are motif and archetype driven, often incorporating reoccurring themes (i.e. the absent/deceased parent, being lost in the woods, magic, a trickster figure, the evil step-mother, etc). Fairy tales often have a simple moral for children and an underlying more complicated one for adults, but some fairy tales are pure entertainment and have no lesson at all. Fairy tales end one of two ways – in a very depressing manner or with everything happily worked out. Fairy tales, however, are not the same as fantasy literature so please don't choose Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings as your inspiration.

As this poem is being written from the villain's standpoint, there shouldn't be a "happily ever after." The villanelle, in fact, does not even have to be a story--it could simply be an exploration of the villain's psyche or serve as the villain's monologue. As long as it is from the villain's perspective, we encourage you to be creative, but please bear in mind the following.

Theme & Style Together: The villanelle is said to be one of the hardest poetic forms to write, but we chose it for good reason. Besides the fact that “villanelle” obviously sounds like “villain," we hope that the repetition of lines will reinforce the villain’s obsession, his or her preoccupation with making some fairy tale hero's life a living hell. It could perhaps even reenforce their regret, depending on what you wish to have them express. The point of the poem, however, is that it be DARK. Think Brothers Grimm, not Disney. The villain should not be light-hearted and happy-go-lucky, they should be insane or angry or brooding or any combination of similar dark emotions.

Need another reason why it should be dark? Because the contest entries will be posted on Halloween!

A couple of the judges wrote their own Villainous Villanelle's in order to give you an idea of what we are looking for:

These Two Things by *PunknEra
Red by ~isabellakay


1) Poems that do not conform to the basic style of the villanelle or the requested content for the theme will be automatically disqualified.
2) You may submit only one poem and your submission must be a new deviation written specifically for this contest. Any deviation dated before September 15, 2008 will not be considered. We would prefer it if you did not submit your poem until October 1st, because this gives you plenty of time to write and edit your poem. We're looking for well written, polished entries, nothing half-assed. That said, you will not be disqualified if you submit sooner.
3) Submit your poem to Contests & Projects -> Contests -> 2008 -> Villainous Villanelles. Please include a link to the contest news article and *PoetryPlease in your poem's description.
4) Your poem is due by 10PM EST on Friday, October 30, 2008. After this time no more submissions will be accepted. The news article displaying the entries will be posted on Halloween.
6) This contest is open to all of dA, not just members of *PoetryPlease, but any contest updates will occur on our front page so we encourage you to at least watch us. While you're at it, why not become a member?
7) Judges and staff members of *PoetryPlease may submit an entry for the sake of participation and to "show 'em how its done," but will not be eligible to win the contest.

This article was written by ~isabellakay & *PunknEra.
© 2008 - 2019 PoetryPlease
This contest is complete and closed. Thank you to all who participated.
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Comments (4)
icydevil0's avatar
Congratz to the winner. Can't wait for the next one.
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TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
Oh, how exciting! :excited:

Reply  ·  
ardunt's avatar
ardunt|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I could not find the category in the listing is there something I am missing?
Reply  ·  
PoetryPlease's avatar
It should be there now. :)
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