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How To Write A Quintilla

The first poetic form challenge in Ken's Inspiro Poetica series.


Acoustic guitar leaning against the wall of an adobe style building.
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What Is A Quintilla?


Popular in the 15th century as a standalone poem, the quintilla only evolved in the 16th century from the separation of the parts of the nine- or ten-line copla de arte menor (translation: minor art couplet). It was initially considered a type of redondilla; however, forms that began with a couplet (aabba and aabab) were not popular but did appear as the second half of the copla real (translation: royal couplet).


Cancionero general, no. 481


Cualquier prisión y dolor Any prison and pain

que se sufra es justa cosa, suffering is a fair thing,

pues se sufre por amor because you suffer for love

de la mayor y mejor of the biggest and best

del mundo y la más hermosa in the world and the most beautiful



How To Write A Quintilla


A quintilla (not to be confused with a quintain) is a Spanish poetic form consisting of five lines eight syllables long (octameter). It employs two rhymes, and no three consecutive lines may rhyme or end in a couplet.


  1. Five-line stanzas.

  2. Eight syllables per line.

  3. An ab rhyme scheme in which at least two lines use the "a" rhyme and at least two lines use the "b" rhyme...

  4. The stanza cannot end with a rhyming couplet.


As such, these are the possible rhyme pattern variations:


  • ABAAB

  • ABABA

  • ABBAB

  • AABAB

  • AABBA



The Inspiro Poetica Challenge


Poets can enter as many quintilla attempts as they wish. The more "work" you make for me, the better, but remember: I'm judging on quality, not quantity.


All poems should be previously unpublished. I will only consider quintilla poems shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.


If you have a specific question about the challenge, please private message me using the Member’s Chat function.


The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in the next Inspiro Poetica of The Poetry Cove Blog.


The deadline is 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) on June 12th.


Ken’s Sample Quintilla


Summer’s call beckons me to you, La llamada del verano me atrae hacia ti,

your thawing heart wrapped in brambles. tu corazón descongelado envuelto en zarzas.

I shed wool as caribou do, Me deshago de la lana como lo hacen los caribúes, to be all but bone and sinew, ser todo menos hueso y tendón,

for your heart to bloom as bluebells. para que tu corazón florezca como campanillas.






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6件のコメント


Shen Friebe
Shen Friebe
2022年6月11日

Sorry for the late response! I think this is one of the very few poetry forms I find very appealing and rhythmically beautiful. It might be too late for me to try this challenge, but not too late to try a Quintilla. Great article, Ken!

いいね!
Ken LeMarchand
Ken LeMarchand
2022年6月16日
返信先

I might just pour any poems people want to submit to my Instagram stories, or maybe I can pitch this idea to Adam and see what he thinks about including submission spotlights on the Poetry Cove's IG stories.

いいね!

Suchita Senthil Kumar
Suchita Senthil Kumar
2022年5月30日

The Quintilla sounds like an intersting poetic form, it doesn't look too daunting to try. Excited for the new Inspiro Poetica series!!


いいね!
Ken LeMarchand
Ken LeMarchand
2022年5月30日
返信先

Indeed. It is quite simple to create. I know most contemporary poets prefer free form these days, but I think structured poems still have their merits.

いいね!

Sophie
Sophie
2022年5月30日

This was so interesting to read! I've never heard of this poetry form before but it reminds me of a fancier limerick. Writing a short and sweet poem like this could definitely help get out of a creative rut

いいね!
Ken LeMarchand
Ken LeMarchand
2022年5月30日
返信先

I can definitely see how the structure would be similar between a limerick and a quintilla. The big difference between the two forms is the thematic content each one utilizes. Limericks tend to be comedic/silly and Quintillas tend to be romantic.

いいね!
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