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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > September 2016 > Open poetry competition winners

Open poetry competition winners

Adjudicator Alison Chisholm highlights her pick of the entries for our Triolet competition

The triolet is a tricky form, but surprisingly compelling when you play with it. This was reflected in the quality and number of entries in the competition, embracing a wealth of different subjects. Reading all the entries together was a timely reminder that a poetry form doesn’t have to be lengthy to convey a powerful message. Within the triolet’s eight lines, many poets found space to express opinions, make observations, and sometimes even tell a story.

One of the key elements of the form is repetition. The opening couplet becomes the final two lines, and the first line recurs as the fourth. Unfortunately some writers were so keen to accommodate a shift in emphasis or new angle when the lines were repeated at the end that they forgot about the mid-poem repetition. As this is an essential part of the form, those entries that failed to observe it had to be eliminated.

While repetition of the words is demanded, one pleasing bonus occurs when a hint of variety is provided by a change in the grammatical structuring of repeated lines. There were some ingenious examples of such wordplay, which enhanced the writing and made for a more interesting read.

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