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What is a Sonnet? Understanding the forms, meter, rhyme, and other aspects of the sonnet.

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Presentation on theme: "What is a Sonnet? Understanding the forms, meter, rhyme, and other aspects of the sonnet."— Presentation transcript:

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2 What is a Sonnet? Understanding the forms, meter, rhyme, and other aspects of the sonnet.

3 History of the Sonnet The sonnet began in Italy, where the poet Francesco Petrarch first established it as a serious form of poetry. Petrarch wrote a large collection of sonnets addressed to a young woman named Laura he saw one afternoon at church. She was not interested, but he didn’t let that stop him, and proceeded to publish some 260 sonnets about her—followed by another hundred or so after her death. Petrarch is, quite possibly, the first recorded literary stalker. In these sonnets, Petrarch used witty plays on Laura’s name (l’oro=the golden one or the golden; references to laurel trees, etc.) to both honor and attack the object of his affection. He would praise her for her beauty in one sonnet, then condemn her as an icy monster who rejects his love in another. Laura was completely unable to respond to these poems, as women did not write, and her public persona was thus basically Petrarch’s to define.

4 Sonnet Form A sonnet has 14 lines. A sonnet has 14 lines. A sonnet must be written in iambic pentameter A sonnet must be written in iambic pentameter A sonnet must follow a specific rhyme scheme, depending on the type of sonnet. A sonnet must follow a specific rhyme scheme, depending on the type of sonnet. A sonnet can be about any subject, though they are often about love or nature. A sonnet can be about any subject, though they are often about love or nature. A sonnet introduces a problem or question in the beginning, and a resolution is offered after the turn. A sonnet introduces a problem or question in the beginning, and a resolution is offered after the turn.

5 Iambic Pentameter A line of Iambic Pentameter is a line with ten beats. A line of Iambic Pentameter is a line with ten beats. An “Iamb” is two beats, or one “foot.” An “Iamb” is two beats, or one “foot.” “Penta” is five (line has five “feet”). “Penta” is five (line has five “feet”). “Meter” is the rhythm of the poem. “Meter” is the rhythm of the poem. A “foot” is made of an unstressed syllable and a stressed syllable (in that order). A “foot” is made of an unstressed syllable and a stressed syllable (in that order).

6 English Sonnet An English Sonnet is also called a Shakespearean Sonnet. An English Sonnet is also called a Shakespearean Sonnet. It includes three quatrains (groups of four lines) and a couplet (two lines). It includes three quatrains (groups of four lines) and a couplet (two lines). The rhyme scheme is often abab cdcd efef gg. The rhyme scheme is often abab cdcd efef gg. The turn is either after eight lines or ten lines. The turn is either after eight lines or ten lines.

7 Italian Sonnet An Italian Sonnet is also called a Petrarchan Sonnet. An Italian Sonnet is also called a Petrarchan Sonnet. It includes an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). It includes an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). The rhyme scheme must begin with abbaabba, and can conclude with any variation of c, d, and e (cdecde, cdcdee, etc.). The rhyme scheme must begin with abbaabba, and can conclude with any variation of c, d, and e (cdecde, cdcdee, etc.). The turn must occur between the octave and the sestet. The turn must occur between the octave and the sestet.

8 The Turn of the Sonnet A sonnet’s turn is the point in the sonnet where the poet changes perspective or alters his/her approach to description. This often results in a sonnet following a “position-contrasting position” type of structure, or occasionally a “change of heart” in the poet at the end of the verse. Look at this sonnet as an example: Notice that the poem’s turn is a change from discussing what Sleep itself is to what the poet will offer Sleep as tribute if Sleep comes to him. Notice that the poem’s turn is a change from discussing what Sleep itself is to what the poet will offer Sleep as tribute if Sleep comes to him. “Come Sleep, O Sleep!” Come, Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace, The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, Th' indifferent judge between the high and low; With shield of proof shield me from out the press Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw! O make in me those civil wars to cease! - I will good tribute pay if thou do so. Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed, A chamber deaf of noise and blind of light, A rosy garland, and a weary head; And if these things, as being thine in right, Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me, Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.

9 The two major sonnet forms: Petrarchan (Italian) ABB AOctave (8 lines) ABB AThe TURN CDE CSestet (6 lines) DEShakespeareanABABCD C3 quatrains DE FThe TURN EF GRhyming G Couplet

10 Nothing is ever easy. Note that at times the turn does NOT occur in the traditional spot. Instead of occurring at the normal line in this sonnet by Shakespeare, the turn instead occurs between lines 8-9—where you’d normally find the turn for an Italian sonnet. Note that at times the turn does NOT occur in the traditional spot. Instead of occurring at the normal line in this sonnet by Shakespeare, the turn instead occurs between lines 8-9—where you’d normally find the turn for an Italian sonnet. Sonnet 29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd, Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

11 Some poets would go on to play with this idea and take it a ridiculous extreme, while others used it as source for satire: My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. William Shakespeare, Sonnet CXXX Giuseppi Archimboldo’s Summer

12 What type of sonnet is “What the Sonnet Is”? What are the groupings of the lines (how many lines are in each group)? What are the groupings of the lines (how many lines are in each group)? What is the rhyme scheme? What is the rhyme scheme? Where is the turn? Where is the turn? Based on your answers, what kind of sonnet is it? Based on your answers, what kind of sonnet is it?

13 “What the Sonnet is” Fourteen small broidered berries on the hem Of Circe’s mantle, each of magic gold; Fourteen of lone Calypso’s tears that rolled Into the sea, for pearls to come of them; Fourteen clear signs of omen in the gem With which Medea human fate foretold; Fourteen small drops, which Faustus, growing old, Craved of the Fiend, to water Life’s dry stem. It is the pure white diamond Dante brought To Beatrice; the sapphire Laura wore When Petrarch cut it sparkling out of thought; The ruby Shakespeare hewed from his heart’s core; The dark, deep emerald that Rossetti wrought For his own soul, to wear for evermore. ~Eugene Lee-Hamilton

14 What type of sonnet is “What the Sonnet Is”? Lines are in an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). Fourteen small broidered berries on the hem Of Circe’s mantle, each of magic gold; Fourteen of lone Calypso’s tears that rolled Into the sea, for pearls to come of them; Fourteen clear signs of omen in the gem With which Medea human fate foretold; Fourteen small drops, which Faustus, growing old, Craved of the Fiend, to water Life’s dry stem. It is the pure white diamond Dante brought To Beatrice; the sapphire Laura wore When Petrarch cut it sparkling out of thought; The ruby Shakespeare hewed from his heart’s core; The dark, deep emerald that Rossetti wrought For his own soul, to wear for evermore.

15 What type of sonnet is “What the Sonnet Is”? Rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdcdcd. Rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdcdcd. Fourteen small broidered berries on the hem Of Circe’s mantle, each of magic gold; Fourteen of lone Calypso’s tears that rolled Into the sea, for pearls to come of them; Fourteen clear signs of omen in the gem With which Medea human fate foretold; Fourteen small drops, which Faustus, growing old, Craved of the Fiend, to water Life’s dry stem. It is the pure white diamond Dante brought To Beatrice; the sapphire Laura wore When Petrarch cut it sparkling out of thought; The ruby Shakespeare hewed from his heart’s core; The dark, deep emerald that Rossetti wrought For his own soul, to wear for evermore.

16 What type of sonnet is “What the Sonnet Is”? The turn in this sonnet is between the octave and the sestet, or after eight lines. The turn in this sonnet is between the octave and the sestet, or after eight lines. The period at the end of line eight is a clue that this is the turn, especially because it is one of only two periods in the sonnet. The period at the end of line eight is a clue that this is the turn, especially because it is one of only two periods in the sonnet. Before the turn, the speaker is telling of groups of fourteen; after the turn, he tells of who wrote the sonnets. Before the turn, the speaker is telling of groups of fourteen; after the turn, he tells of who wrote the sonnets.

17 What type of sonnet is “What the Sonnet Is”? “What the Sonnet Is” is an Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet!

18 Sonnet All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now, and after this one just a dozen to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas, then only ten more left like rows of beans. How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan and insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines, one for every station of the cross. But hang on here while we make the turn into the final six where all will be resolved, where longing and heartache will find an end, where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen, take off those crazy medieval tights, blow out the lights, and come at last to bed. Billy Collins

19 Sonnet 17 – Pablo Neruda I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way in which there is no I or you so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand so intimate that when you fall asleep it is my eyes that close


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