Poetry Form - The Terza Rima

The Terza Rima Verse Form
by J. Zimmerman.

* History. * Form. * Examples. * Books.

The entire form is shown below.

An Italian stanzaic form, where each stanza is a tercet, often in iambic pentameter, while the original Italian form was iambic pentameter, plus one syllable. Rhymes are interwoven rhymes, aba bcb dcd efe ..., as show at form.

Dante Alighieri has the first recorded use of the form (for The Divine Comedy) and he may have invented it.

Chaucer applied terza rima to English and it has been used in English by Milton, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Auden, and many others.

The features of the Terza rima are:


Used by

A Last Word.

Just because you start with the intention of writing a Terza rima, you do not have to keep your poem in that form. Your attempt to write a formal poem may help you find words that you would not have found otherwise. And you may decide to end up with a poem in a different form, perhaps even a prose poem.


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