Cuaderna Via

Cuaderna Via (frame way) is a strict, syllabic stanzaic form that dominated most of the serious Spanish poetry for the 13th and 14th centuries until the 15th century when it was replaced by the more generic Art Major. The Cuaderna Via was the introduction of syllabic verse into Castillian poetry. It appears to have been originated by the Spanish clergy under French influence, hence the alternative names of mester de clerecía and nueva maestría. It is also known as alejandrino (14) since Spanish verse is often named for the number of syllables the lines contain, the alejandrino is now classified as a verse of Art Major.

One of the earliest known Spanish poets to utilize the form was Gonzalo de Berceo 1190-1264 and some of the best known Cuaderna Via’s were 14th century Juan Ruiz’s Libro d Buen Amor and Pedro López de Ayala’s autobiographic, Rimado de Palacio which was a satire of contemporary society.

This stanzaic form is known for its “rigidity of form: syllables are counted carefully” NPEOPP. In addition to the rigid meter, only true rhyme is allowed.

The Cuaderna Via is:
• stanzaic, written in any # of mono-rhymed quatrains.
• syllabic, 14 syllable lines divided into hemistiches of 7 syllables each, often broken by caesura. There is no wiggle room in syllable count.
• mono-rhymed. The rhyme must be true rhyme, no slant rhyme, assonance or consonance.
Rhyme scheme aaaa, bbbb etc. Apparently this is a form for purists.

First Day of Chemo by Judi Van Gorder
The morning chill waits for her, the cold arrived in the night, 
she lies beneath her down quilt, still as a doe before flight.
The dreaded day has arrived, resolve mixed with fear holds tight.
She knows it’s what must be done and she swallows down her fright.

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

My example

Ferguson Forecast (Cuaderna Via)

Black hands hold up signs that say (If) “No Justice!!” (then) “No Peace!! “
Ferguson’s a flash point now fueled by hatred of police.
Race baiters have their showcase, and they’re wanting no surcease.
No matter what the verdict – I know violence will increase.

Bigotry will flourish here, where race hatred’s been inbred.
I can’t tell where the truth lies, from what both have done and said.
Don’t take rage to city streets; stay with those you love instead,
for justice will not be served by assuring more are dead.

© Lawrencealot – November 22, 2014

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Cuaderna Via


  • The Tanaga is a Filipino stanzaic form that was originally written in Tagolog which to my ear is one of the more musical of languages. (Kumusta ka? Mabuti salam at) The form dates back to the 16th century and has an oral tradition. The poems are not titled. Each is emotionally charged and asks a question that begs an anwer. This form was found at Kaleidoscope.The Tanaga is:
    • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
    • syllabic, 7-7-7-7 syllables per line.
    • rhymed, originally aaaa bbbb cccc etc., modern Tanagas also use aabb ccdd etc or abba cddc etc or any combination rhyme can be used.
    • composed with the liberal use of metaphor.
    • untitled.

Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the wonderful resource at PMO.
My Example Poem
Casually boys contemplate,
Carefully they cogitate,
what will they appreciate
when they’re searching for a mate?
Will she need to cook and sew?
I suspect the answer’s no.
Will she need to use a wrench,
or speak Mandarin or French?
Need she work with quilting thread,
or perform with brush or pen?
I think I’ll say no again-
if she pleases him in bed.
© Lawrencealot – March 3, 2014
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Note: For example only I used one of each rhyme pattern here.

Roger's Refrain

This is a form invented on by Rockape 

It is written in iambic tetrameter with
Any number of mono-rhyme quatrain stanzas, and
and ending rhyming couplet.

It is stanzaic, with quatrains, each stanza being mono-rhymed with the last half of line one, being the repeated refrain, as the last half of line 4.
There is no limit to the number of stanzas but the poem must end with a rhyming couplet.

Example  Poem

I Lost My Kid     (Roger’s Refrain)
On a long trip I lost my kid.
Responsible I am- yet did
and not because he went and hid.
‘T’was late at night I lost my kid.
Me and my boys driving quite far
It would be three day trip by car.
It’s cool at night; that’s how things are
I like that when driving quite far.
In Rock Springs WY I’d stopped to pee.
Got back in checked back seat to see,
indeed my boys were there with me.
I went back where I’d stopped to pee.
There I bought some coffee to go,
got in and went; I don’t go slow.
After an hour got tired you know
Even with the coffee to go.
Pulled off and slept ’til morning light.
That way passed last hour of the night.
My Gary said, Where’s Bob tonight?
I thought him there, ’til morning light.
He had jumped out to take a pee.
and walked to the John don’t you see?
While I was buying that coffee
unknown to me, to take a pee.
I sped back to the coffee shop
without my seeing single cop
who’d been told to locate and stop
one whose kid’s in the coffee shop.
There Bob a grin from ear to ear
A donut in each hand was clear
this adventure had posed no fear.
Powdered sugar from ear to ear.

For dad, there was a bit of fright,
for son,  adventure and delight.

(c) Lawrencealot – August 24, 2012
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