Curtal Quatrain

Curtal Quatrain (French- cut short) is a 19th century American verse form made popular by Archibald Mac Leish. This is not the quatrain used in theCurtal Sonnet of a few of decades before. The sonnet may have influenced the creation of this verse form but the sonnet’s quatrain is 4 lines of iambic pentameter with a trimeter tail added as a 5th line. In the Curtal Quatrain the 4th line is the shorter line.

Curtal Quatrain is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
• metered, primarily iambic. L1, L2, L3 are pentameter and L4 is dimeter.
• rhymed. Rhyme scheme xaxa

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My example

Fresh Start (Curtal Quatrain)

Some days you rise, intent on making hay
but by the time the coffee’s brewed to taste
the fine aroma announces that it’s
too fresh to waste.

‘Twould be a crime to let it sit and burn,
degrading coffee oils and caffeine too.
It’s best I guess, to postpone things and just
enjoy the brew.

© Lawrencealot – November 24, 2014

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Curtal Quatrain

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