Repeat yourself

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Toronto-based poet and former Poetry In Voice creative director Damian Rogers invites you to repeat yourself. Try it!


Repetition is a really fun thing to play with in poems. You can try a highly structured form like the villanelle (check out One Art by Elizabeth Bishop and my own Good Day Villanelle to break down the pattern: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2). If you’d rather do something less formal, then think of a line that you will use three times in your poem: use it for the first line, in the middle of the poem, and again as the last line. Make your poem at least 9 lines long and work on making the meaning and tone of your one repeating line change slightly each time it’s used. Short, declarative statements work best. If you’re stuck for a line, try “I woke up today.”