Unraveling the Ovillejo (a new poetic form rolls up to the Bar)




Cheers! Happy 2016, and welcome to The Bar. De Jackson (WhimsyGizmo) here. Pull up a stool, and let’s untangle a fun poetic form you won’t find much info about here in the Western world (at least not in English): the Ovillejo.

As with my introduction to most forms, I first learned about the Ovillejo from Robert Lee Brewer over at Poetic Asides.

The explanation below is offered from several online sources, which seem to be attributed most often to Rhina P. Espaillat:

…the “ovillejo,” an old Spanish verse form that means “tight little bundle.” “-ejo” is one of our blessed diminutives, and “ovillo” means “tangled ball of yarn.” The last line is a “redondilla,” a “little round” that collects all three of the short lines. The rhyme scheme is established, but the meter is at the poet’s discretion, although in Spanish the longer lines tend to be octosyllabic (8…

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