Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for QUATRAIN if you're a poet and QUERY if you aren't

This is for all you poets out there. The novelists seeking publication can skip the next paragraph and instead go to this link on how to write a really good QUERY letter.

A QUATRAIN is a stanza of four lines. The possible rhyme schemes vary from an unrhymed QUATRAIN to almost any arrangement of one-rhyme, two-rhyme, or three-rhyme lines. Perhaps the most common form is the abab sequence; other popular rhyme patterns are aabb; abba; aaba; abcb. Robert Frost's "In a Disused Graveyard" consists of four QUATRAINS. In iambic tetrameter, each in a different rhyme scheme: abba, aaaa, aabb, abab-- quite a tour de force. W. H. Auden's "Leap Before You Look" rhymes abab bbaa baab abba aabb baba, in effect turning itself inside out.

(This post has been inspired by and in some instances, directly quoted from A Handbook to Literature, 8th Edition, by William Harmon and C. Hugh Holman)


  1. Oh my - you brought back such fond memories of my poetry classes last year!! Love that Quatrain rhythm!

    Take care

  2. Gosh, I remember writing quatrains in school. That was fun as long as I wasn't getting graded on them lol.

  3. Hi Karen .. great explanation - because I am so vague on things like this .. good word for Q .. thanks and cheers Hilary

  4. Thanks for a new word added to my vocabulary. And for the link...if I ever finish that children's book. The challenge is so much fun today, checking on everyone's Q word. So far I learned this and about a Inuit spirit dog (can't remember what it was called, but a great post it was).--Inger

  5. Someday, (when I'm not busy writing/editing) I'm going to study poetry.

  6. I'd never heard of quatrain before, it's cool to learn a new word. :)
    Thanks for the link to the query writing resource!

  7. I don't think we ever wrote a quatrain in school. We were always studying Shakespeare or Austen. lol.

  8. Yeah for poetry! Your blog is lovely. I will be back.


  9. I want to be querying, but I need to finish something first. After April I need to focus on that more.

    Tossing It Out

  10. Even if we aren't poets we can learn a lot from poetry.

  11. Karen I'm so lost on this one. the only Gautrain I knwo anything about i our commuter service here in South Africa.... have much to learn.

  12. Wendy, Well, if you aren't a poet then why worry about it LOL. I learned it forever ago but promptly forgot it. I had to look it up in a book to get it right so I could post this.

    Lynda, I have so much respect for poets. They can say so much with so few words. It's a rare gift.