Knittelvers means cudgel verse. Considered simple, sometimes awkward and often satirical, comical or vulgar, Knittelvers are a 15th century German stanzaic form which by the 17th century had become indicative of derogatory statements. Written in crude couplets the genre / form was rejected as clumsy by most reputed poets. But by the 18th century they were revived by such noted poets as Goethe, Schiller and Gottsched. Knittelvers continue to be effective in political satire and parodies.

The Knittelvers is:

*stanzaic, written in any number of couplets.

*rhymed. The rhyme can be true or assonant rhyme. aa bb cc dd etc.

*syllabic, originally the lines were long but narrowed down to either strict count of 8 syllable lines or free count of 8 or 9 syllable lines each. But by the 18th century two prominent variations emerged:

>a rhymed couplet of alternating an 8 syllable masculine ending line followed by a 9 syllable feminine ending line.

>or alternating rhymed couplets of 8 syllable masculine ending lines followed by a couplet of 9 syllable feminine ending lines.

*accentual, each line carries 4 stressed syllables.

How Many Times? by Judi Van Gorder

He said “sorry, it’s me not you.
I strayed and found somebody new.”
She knew before he spoke his confession 
he’d played long before this transgression.

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

German and Austrian Poetic Forms:

Bar Form, Dinggedicht, Goliardic VerseKnittelvers, Minnesang, Nibelungen,Schuttelreim

My example

Riskless Investment (Knittelvers)

Bad money drives out good they say
The U.S. has both kinds today.
It’s true. I’m now collecting pennies
(pre-eighty-two) when I get any.
The copper content’s worth now twice
the value of their face! How nice.
Until there’s change, (or mass disorder)
I have become a penny hoarder.

© Lawrencealot РNovember 14, 2014

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