With its intricate rhyme scheme and dance-like pattern of repeated lines, its marriage of recurrence and surprise, the villanelle has fascinated poets ever since it was introduced almost two centuries ago. Many well-known names in the past have tried their hand at it, and the villanelle is enjoying a revival among writers today. The poems collected here range from the classic villanelles of the nineteenth century - by Thomas Hardy, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Oscar Wilde and others - to such famous and memorable examples as Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night", Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" and Sylvia Plath's "Mad Girl's Love Song". Here too are the cutting-edge works of contemporary poets, including Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Sherman Alexie and Rita Dove, demonstrating the dazzling variety that can be found within the parameters of a single strict poetic form.
The first of its kind - a comprehensive collection of the best of the villanelle - the third most popular verse form after the sonnet and the haiku.