THE RULES FOR A SESTINA. This post contained Anthony Hecht’s Sestina d’Inverno about winter in Rochester (and Syracuse). Hecht was one of the few poets to invent a form of verse, the double dactyl. The rules for a sestina are complex, and poets like Hecht who love formal verse are attracted to forms like the sestina and the villanelle. There is a discussion of the rules for a sestina and how the Sestina d’Inverno follows them at this link A sestina is based on the choice of 6 words. For the Sestina d’Inverno, the 6 words are: Rochester, snow, mind, making, island and natives. There are six stanzas of six lines each, each line ending in one of the 6 words. There is a template for the sequence of the six final words in each of the stanzas. This article by Caroline Davies gives the order:

First Stanza 1-2-3-4-5-6
Second Stanza 6-1-5-2-4-3
Third Stanza 3-6-4-1-2-5
Fourth Stanza 5-3-2-6-1-4
Fifth Stanza 4-5-1-3-6-2
Sixth Stanza 2-4-6-5-3-1

First line of Envoi 2-5
Second line of Envoi 4-3
Third line of Envoi 6-1

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