Using Python to help write villanelle poems

Python can help you write a villanelle, which is a 19-line poem that contains five tercets (three-line stanzas) and one quatrain (four-line stanza). After you start your villanelle by writing two rhyming refrains, Python generates the correct pattern for writing the remainder of your villanelle, its other rhyming lines.

Starting your villanelle

Start your villanelle by typing two rhyming refrains (repeating lines) into your Villanelle Helper Python program, which generates the correct pattern for your entire villanelle. As shown in Figure 1, it places all refrains correctly and indicates how the other lines should rhyme.
Figure 1 - After you type two rhyming refrains into the Villanelle Helper window,
Python generates the pattern for your villanelle poem, automatically populating
all refrains, and indicating where it will place other rhyming lines.
Note: Figure 1 is part of my villanelle:Fix the seasons.
I took this screenshot while still writing the villanelle.

To start writing your villanelle, do the following:
  1. Install Python 3 and IDLE for Python 3. For details, see Getting Started with Python Programming. You also need the Tkinter (ttk) graphical user interface. Note: IDLE is the Python integrated development environment (IDE).  
  2. Start Python 3 to display it Shell window, click File, and then click New Window.
  3. Click File, click Save As, type VillanelleHelper into the File-name field, select a convenient location, such as Desktop, and then click Save.
  4. Copy VillanelleHelper, paste it into your VillanelleHelper.py window, and then click Save. For more information, see RunningPython Examples.
  5. Click Run, and then click Run Module to display a Villanelle Helper window similar to that at the top of Figure 1.
  6. Type your first refrain (refrain01), press Tab, type your second refrain (refrain02), and then click Display Refrains to generate Python Shell text similar to that in Figure 2. Note: This generated text is the pattern for your villanelle, which has two portions. The top portion is the reference area; the bottom portion is the working area, which contains upper-case lines that you replace by typing over them. Do not type over the top portion; use it as a reference. Type only in the working area.
  7. Finish writing your villanelle according to the procedure below.
    Figure 2 - After you copy the pattern of your villanelle poem to
    your word processor, you can type in the other rhyming lines.

Finishing your villanelle

To finish your villanelle, do the following:
  1. Copy all text, the pattern of your villanelle, from the Python Shell into your word processor.
  2. Scroll to the working area that begins with COMPLETE YOUR VILLANELLE BY TYPING OVER THE INDICATED LINES.
  3. As shown in Figure 2, type a line into stanza 1, line 2, and type a line into stanza 2, line 1.
  4. Type a line into stanza 2, line 1, and type a line into stanza 2, line 2 that rhymes with stanza 1, line 2.
  5. Type a line into stanza 3, line 1 that rhymes with stanza 2, line 1, and type a line into stanza 3, line 2 that rhymes with stanza 1, line 2.
  6. Similarly type over the indicated lines for stanzas 4, 5 and 6.
  7. Add a title to your villanelle poem, and then publish it.

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