Curtailed Sonnet

Some would argue as to whether it is a true sonnet, but I consider it to be just as valid as any other sonnet form. The Curtal is a curtailed or contracted sonnet, referring specifically to a sonnet comprising of a sestet with a rhyme scheme of a. b. c. a. b. c. and a quintet rhyming, d. c. b. d. c.. or.. d. b. c. d. c.with the last line preferably a spondee, but at least a tail shorter then the previous lines.

The form was devised by Gerard Manley who devised a metrical system known as Sprung rhythm; that has 1-to-4-syllable feet, each starting with a stressed syllable (sometimes a foot by itself), where the spondee replaces the iamb as the dominant measure, and rests and multiple non-stressed syllables discounted in scansion. –

Curtal or Curtailed Sonnet is a Petrarchan Sonnet which is proportionately ¾ in size. It is a 19th century innovation by English poet Gerard Anthony Hopkinswho prefaced his publication Poems (1918) with an explanation of the verse form which he used in 3 of his sonnets.

Well it is controversial whether the Curtailed Sonnet is indeed a real sonnet, but I am going to give the inventor, who was very serious about it being exactly a 3/4 size sonnet the benefit of the doubt.

An abbreviated sonnet in eleven lines that are arranged in two stanzas. The first has rhyme scheme abcabc, and the second is either dbcdc or dcbdc. The very last line is indented and shorter. It is, depending on what expert describes the curtal sonnet, either described as a half-line or a single spondee. Hopkins described it as the former, but usually executed it as the latter. It should have a pivot between the sestet and quintet.

I have found documented and used by poets several various Rhyme Schemes, but ONLY one
for a Ten-Line Poem.  All of them are listed here with reference to the source I used.
They are provided for reference but you can IGNORE them for now.  Using the templates
that follow will let you pick the rhyme pattern a composition time.

I have found published examples of the form written in Iambic Tetrameter.

abcabc dbcdc

abcabc dcbdc

aba aba dbcdc
ababa dbcdc

abcabc defde
This is the only scheme which does not have a rhyme for every line.

I’ve never found a poem other than The Dragonfly Pond by
our own MLou, that purports to be a “tail-less” Curtailed Sonnet, and alas it does NOT follow any of the Rhyme Specifications, but is a wonderful write.  It is Ten lines rather than 11 tail-less.
See it here:…___…____Curtailed_Sonnet_-by-Mlou

I have found NO write that conforms to the spec, which I summarize below.  So I shall write one of each type.   By the way none of the inventors four poems I found comply either.  Go figure who in the heck later determined the specs?   The original specs I found demanded 10 Lines of Iambic Pentameter and
one line of Iambic Trimeter, and I found NONE that had the original rhyme scheme AND that structure so I wrote the poem that serves as a template.

After much more research, finding all of the rhyme patterns shown, and allowing the final tail to be any number of syllables, I found several poems.

Still there is NO poem for a Ten Line poem that meets the rhyming specs I found, except the one used here for the Tail-less template.

Sample poems:

Write a Tail-less Curtailed Sonnet

A curtailed sonnet deemed by some to be
A farce, pretending sonnet status though
it fails to have the weight we want to see.
A curtailed sonnet less its tail I know
this one inscribed at this place now by me
can claim to be the only one extant
with rhyme prescribed as advertised, although
our Mlou penned a gem with differn’t rhyme.
If you find me one I shall sure recant,
Or otherwise this is it at this time.

(c) Lawrencealot – Octobr 1, 2012

Write a Curtailed Sonnet

A curtailed sonnet deemed by some to be
A farce, pretending sonnet status though
it fails to have the weight a sonnet needs.
A search will find conflicting specs, and we
must struggle now the truth to rightly show.
For no existing write I’ve found succeeds
if needed trimeter caudate you add.
The rhyming scheme must change of course you know.
“dbcdc” now is what this needs.
This lacks imagery but is still not bad
the way the poem reads.
(c) Lawrencealot – Octobr 1, 2012

Visual Template with the many rhyme patterns snown:

abcabc defde
abcabc dcbdc
abcabc dbcdc
aba aba dbcdc
ababa dbcdc

the top for is for the 11 line taile sonnet