Here is my handout:
Write a Spenserian stanza on a topic of your choosing. In order to write an effective stanza you will have to take the following into consideration:
- You will write nine lines of poetry with the rhyme scheme ABABBCBCC.
- The first eight lines will have 10 syllables (i.e., pentameter) and the last line will have 12 syllables (i.e., hexameter).
- The lines will be in iambic meter (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, repeated). You can play with the meter somewhat, but you can’t disregard it.
- The grammar will make sense and you will communicate an idea to the reader.
- The stanza will demonstrate creativity and thoughtfulness.
Here is sample stanza that a past student wrote; note that the writer includes allusions to other poems. You can allude to other material in our syllabus too, since that was in fact a tactic that Spenser used in The Faerie Queene!
Last night I dreamt a dream that was not dull,
A dream of dreams! Not anything compares!
With mighty Ozy marching through my skull,
And Kubla's river soaring through the airs.
But from the void of normal life and cares
Came moans and cries of wicked, sluggish pain.
Awake! Awake! A voice of memory blares,
Then caves of milk and ice melt down the drain
Eyes op'd and then I felt a funeral in my brain.