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What is a Terza Rima poem?

A terza rima is an Italian form of poetry first used by Dante Alighieri.

It consists of stanzas of three lines (or tercets) usually in iambic pentameter. It follows an interlocking rhyming scheme, or chain rhyme. This is where the middle of each stanza rhymes with the first and last line of the following stanza. There is no set length to this form, as long as it follows the pattern as follows:


With the last stanza as a couplet rhyming with the middle line of the previous stanza. In this case, EE.

An example of a Terza Rima poem


A New life begins to spring to life in spring
B Green shoots appear in the April showers
A Birds migrate back home and rest tired wings
B Summer brings green fields full of bright flowers
C Paddling pools and ice creams all around
B The sun shines fiercely with all its powers
C Autumn sends leaves tumbling to the ground
D The sun sinks lower leaving longer nights
C Conkers and acorns waiting to be found
D Winter is a time for Halloween frights
E Snow on the ground and Jack Frost’s ache
D Celebrations filled with festive delights
E As winter ends the new year starts to make
E New life begins to spring to life and awake.

Why don't you try writing a Terza Rima poem and enter it into one of our poetry competitions.

For information on poetry types other than a Terza Rima visit our poetry glossary – poetry types.

Poetry Types

Acrostic Epigram Lyric Shakespearean Sonnet
Ballad Free verse Ottava rima Sonnet
Ballade Haiku Pantoum Tanka Poem
Blank verse Horatian Ode Pindaric Ode Terza rima
Cinquain Irregular Ode Riddle Tetractys
Diamante Kennings Rondeau Triolet
Echo Verse Kyrielle Senryu Tyburn
Epic Limerick Shape Poem  
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