One of the more demanding fixed forms of poetry first appearing in French love poetry during the 11th century.

It is a poem of four six-line stanzas in which the first and second lines, as well as the third and fourth lines of the first three stanzas, must be identical. The fifth and sixth lines must use all the words from the preceding lines and only those words. The final stanza must use every word from all the preceding stanzas and only those words.

Paradelle for Everything (It's Only Demanding If You Are)

Everything consumes my every waking thought
Everything consumes my every waking thought
In my dreams I float through nodes
In my dreams I float through nodes
Through Everything I float my waking dreams
In my thought, consumes nodes

How I would like to fill up with facts
How I would like to fill up with facts
I let this distraction light the dark places
I let this distraction light the dark places
How dark the facts, I light places with would
Like to distraction, with this I let fill up

This is where thoughts begin and end
This is where thoughts begin and end
In the eyes of node gods
In the eyes of node gods
This node of gods and eyes
Begin in the thoughts where the end is

Let distraction fill up with god's eyes
And facts would like to light everything
Of this, dark dreams is where thought ends
Float, light up every thought this consumes
I in my I, how through waking places, begin this
The node! The nodes!

A paradelle is an incredibly demanding fixed form of poetry concocted by Billy Collins in late 1990s as a parody of extremely confining and repetitive forms of poetry, in particular the villanelle.

Collins had grown tired of the recent revival in popularity of old forms such as the sestina and the villanelle, which he found to be repetative, sing-songy, and just plain dumb. So in 1997 he published a poem called "Paradelle for Susan" and in a footnote wrote that it was an ancient poetic form dating back to French love poetry of the 11th century. Collins' poem was intentionally ridiculous, and included lines such as "Darken the mountain, time and find was my into it was with to to."

However, much to Collins' surprise, numerous people did not get the joke, and his description of the form and its origins has been replicated numerous times in quite serious contexts. Moreover, the form actually became quite popular over the next decade, both among people who didn't get the joke but also even those who did, perhaps because it represents perhaps the most extreme challenge in poetry, kind of like an X Games version of the villanelle. As Collins wrote in a recent retrospective:

"The paradelle invites you in with its offer of nursery-rhyme repetition, then suddenly confronts you with an extreme verbal challenge. It lurches from the comfort of repetition to the crossword-puzzle anxiety of fitting a specific vocabulary into a tightly bounded space. While the level of difficulty in most verse forms remains fairly consistent throughout, the paradelle accelerates from kindergarten to college and back to kindergarten several times and ends in a think-tank called the Institute for Advanced Word Play. Thus the jumpy double nature of the paradelle, so unsteady, so schizo, so right for our times.

By 2005, there were even enough good paradelles in circulation that someone was able to publish an anthology of great paradelles (Red Hen Press: The Paradelle, ISBN: 1-59709-023-9).

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