Let Rhyme Work for

If you are composing a light-verse villanelle, consider multisyllabic words especially with falling (light stress) endings: "baloney/spumoni/ matrimony." Villanelles about serious subjects usually employ monosyllabic (hard stress) end words: "bow/plow/how."

Villanelles using a combination of falling multisyllabic and rising monosyllabic rhymes also are excellent if you are composing satire. (See Ron Wallace's "State Poetry Day" in the mini anthology.)

Study all your rhyme and near-rhyme words. Then make a list of ones associated with the topic of your villanelle or common enough to use in a variety of ways. For instance, here's part of my list of farm-related and common words rhyming and near-rhyming with bow. cow, bough, how, row, somehow, blow, crow, doe, flow, know, no, slow, grow, hoe, mow, tow, whoa, rainbow.

I composed a similar list for plain, my second rhyme word. (Notice that I didn't use the word field at the end of the second line because, like the earlier scythe, it doesn't yield many rhymes.)

Finally, see what images or meanings your lists of rhyming words suggest and then go about using them to compose the body of your villanelle.

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