Villainous Villanelles
|8 min read
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By PoetryPlease   |   Watch
90 66 4K (1 Today)
Published: September 15, 2008
*PoetryPlease is proud the present the Villainous Villanelle Contest!

Summary

This contest is being hosted by PoetryPlease but is a dA wide contest backed by the ArtistRelations Team. We have great prizes and a near celebrity list of judges who will begin to judge the entries on Halloween 2008. If you like what you see, please remember to :+fav: the news article so that everyone else will see it too! Thank you and keep reading...

Content

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!

Judges

We have an amazing panel of judges for this contest, including *PunknEra, ~isabellakay, ~cypher-neo, secondmagpie, `Beccalicious, *BerylAlexandros, *ThornyEnglishRose & `MSJames! 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

Rules

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.

Prizes

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

If you'd like to donate a prize, please note PoetryPlease with "Contest Prize" in the subject line and a clear statement of what you'd like to offer. For example, a journal feature, a print, a sub, etc.

----------------------------
This article was written by ~isabellakay & *PunknEra.
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Comments (63)
KHFractals's avatar
Oh WOW! I think this is just what I was looking for when I asked for inspiration to write.

It has been soooo long since I've written a poem. I hope I'm not too rusty.

Now I just have to pick a villain.
Reply  ·  
Itti's avatar
Itti|Hobbyist General Artist
When I was doing miscats on the villanelles in spring, I found this the best way to explain the form:

1. Rhyme A
2. Rhyme B
3. Rhyme A

4. Rhyme A
5. Rhyme B
6. Repeat line 1

7. Rhyme A
8. Rhyme B
9. Repeat line 3

10. Rhyme A
11. Rhyme B
12. Repeat line 1

13. Rhyme A
14. Rhyme B
15. Repeat line 3

16. Rhyme A
17. Rhyme B
18. Repeat line 1
19. Repeat line 3


You might find this confuses less people than the wordy paragraph-long description you have above. :)
Reply  ·  
meljoy68's avatar
meljoy68|Hobbyist General Artist
That works nicely. :nod: I appreciate a better way to explain the structure, I'll definitely keep this in mind! :aww:
Reply  ·  
Itti's avatar
Itti|Hobbyist General Artist
No problem :)
Reply  ·  
Diptonite's avatar
I like this. I just submitted my poem :)
Reply  ·  
Simply-Simon's avatar
Simply-Simon|Hobbyist Photographer
I don't know if this is what you are looking for [link] :D
Reply  ·  
TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
That doesn't appear to fit the proper form. You can read up on it in this Wikipedia article.: [link]

Merlin
Reply  ·  
Simply-Simon's avatar
Simply-Simon|Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you Merlin, Unfortunatly, I suffer from Dyslexia and have to be in the right frame of mind to read complicated articles as it can take some time for the words to sink in... I enjoyed writing it anyway :).
Reply  ·  
TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
Aw, poor =eluk. All that you'd need to work on is the form. Nothing else in the article is interesting, from the practical view, at least. :shrug:

Merlin
Reply  ·  
TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
Would a villain from The Chronicles of Narnia be acceptable?

Merlin
Reply  ·  
TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
It seems to fit the general fairytale format, but Tolkien was ruled out... and that was written in the same period... Gar. I'd probably better skirt that, but the villain is soooo viciously enchanting.

*torn*

Merlin
Reply  ·  
TEC-ThePenOfMerlin's avatar
It seems to fit the definition...

Merlin
Reply  ·  
phoenixmemory's avatar
I'm in.
Will there be links to other submissions as they come in? or do we have to wait until Halloween to read some of these creepy poems?
Reply  ·  
meljoy68's avatar
meljoy68|Hobbyist General Artist
:evillaugh: I'm biding my time...
Reply  ·  
Blueskye27's avatar
Blueskye27|Hobbyist Writer
I got my done! Yay! Now I'm going to let it percolate until October... I'm so excited! :w00t:
Reply  ·  
Beyond-the-Pages's avatar
Hey, Cindy, how do we submit it to the contest organizers? Is it in a note to PoetryPlease?
Reply  ·  
Blueskye27's avatar
Blueskye27|Hobbyist Writer
It actually has it's own private section! Whoa! Under submissions, when you pick a Category, go to Contests & Projects -> Contests -> Villainous Villanelles. You're also supposed to link in your comments to PoetryPlease and their article (it's mentioned on their page).
Reply  ·  
Beyond-the-Pages's avatar
Yeah, I figured that out. :) But thanks anyways. I already put mine up. I'm excited, but some of these are really good. I'm worried. :sheepish:
Reply  ·  
poet-irish-taurus's avatar
I have done one just now.
Hopefully its good enough to be considered.
Reply  ·  
Catali's avatar
Catali|Student Writer
I'm really excited about this contest! I've never written a villanelle before, but I've already started plotting mine. I have a strange question though....I wanted to use the Briar Rose story as a basis for mine, but focusing on the thorned vines as the villain for the poem, as the wise woman's creation, since the woman herself isn't even really in the story. Would that be ok??? Thanks. :D
Reply  ·  
PunknEra's avatar
You are encouraged to be creative! :)
Reply  ·  
Catali's avatar
Catali|Student Writer
Fantastic! Thanks so much! :boogie: *scurries off to keep working on hers*
Reply  ·  
Ella-kayleigh's avatar
It sounds like a lot of fun and I'll think I'll have a go. :)
Just a quick question. Are we meant to stick to the traditional fairytales bed-time stories like Cinderella?
Or are we allowed to do villians from other fairytales like Mr. Grinch or the phantom of the opera?
Reply  ·  
PunknEra's avatar
If you stick with the classics, you're erring on the side of caution. You don't want to select something that may not be a fairy tale and end up getting disqualified when the judges start considering the entries. I am only one judge, so I can't say "yes" or "no". It's probably best to be cautious.
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
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