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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All poems should be previously unpublished.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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