Aims and Objectives:

Etymologically the term Octet comes to us from Latin octo ( eight ). It has around 210 synonyms. Some are well known as Octad, Ogdoad, Octonary, Octuplet, Nundine, Octave, Octett, Octette etc. This, basically, is a Group of Eight Musicians performing together. In its new Avatar, OCTET has come to stay as Eight Lines in Poetic Pose without the rigid rhyme restrictions of Octave — ABBA ABBA —and syllable count of ten per line in Italian Sonnet form, begun by Lentini and popularised by Petrarch — Francesco Petrarca anglicised as Petrarch — a poet of Renaissance Italy ( July 20, 1304 — July 18/19, 1374 ). Sir Thomas Wyatt brought the Sonnet to England in the 16th Century.

Octet is such a set of Verse which necessarily has to be terse if the point is to be driven home to the reader of modern times, who has constraints of time in this fast race of existence.

Poets write in seclusion but their words glow with profusion of wisdom of their own, born of their field of experience while grappling with life in its many phases. Their noosphere is the crucible that shapes the poems in whatever form they choose to write in. My choice fell on Octave, the larger segment of Sonnet ( Octave and Sestet ), and christened it OCTET after liberating it from there:

Ensconced between Septet and Nonet
is OCTET, the proud child of Sonnet.
Doctor’s blade separated the twins:
the tail wags — the head laurel wins
relishing its individual Genre,
held in esteem and honour.
Happy is the one who fathered,
as for this operation none bothered.

This exclusive form is easy for any layman to read as poetic deed. But to delve deep for the pearls is the labour of any scholar.

In Octet there can be:
Two Quatrains
Four Couplets
Quatrain Couplet Couplet
Couplet Quatrain Couplet
Couplet Couplet Quatrain
Couplet Tercet Tercet
Tercet Couplet Tercet
Tercet Tercet Couplet
Tercet Refrain Tercet Refrain etc.

There is no Syllable Count of Ten or more/less than Ten per line. It may be in Single Acrostic, Double Acrostic, Reverse Acrostic or Mirror Format.

This Genre does not confine itself to the theme of Love only. Regarding themes or motifs there is full freedom as to their number from single theme to as many as can be justified in the space of Eight Lines.

One may use Photos to enhance their Impact but in no case Octet should be on Photo Prompts as that carries these to the lower rung of Pictorial Poetry which is just Elaborated Captions one comes across in Newspapers, Pamphlets, Magazines etc.

Nor these should be categorised as Visual Poetry which is Shape Poetry or Concrete Poetry basically, having the touch of Fancy but not of Primary Imagination, what to talk of Secondary Imagination.

By Dr. N K Sharma