Sonnet Forms The traditional sonnet comes in two forms: English and Italian. English sonnets are classified as either Shakespearean or Spenserian. Italian sonnets are often referred to as Petrarchan sonnets. Despite their differences, all sonnets contain 14 lines of poetry and are typically written in iambic pentameter.
The Shakespearean Sonnet The Shakespearean sonnet is the most common sonnet form. Shakespearean sonnets are written using three quatrains followed by a couplet. The rhyme scheme is: ◦ ABAB CDCD EFEF GG Shakespearean sonnets are usually written as a single stanza, with no space between the quatrains and couplet.
The Spenserian Sonnet The Spenserian sonnet is another English sonnet form used primarily by medieval author Edmund Spenser. It also is written using three quatrains and one couplet. The rhyme scheme is: ◦ ABAB BCBC CDCD EE Like the Shakespearean form, Spenserian sonnets are written as a single stanza.
The Shakespearean Sonnet (Can be modified as Spenserian) A B First QUATRAIN A Image or example #1 B C D Second QUATRAIN C Image or example #2 D E F Third QUATRAIN E Image or example #3 F G COUPLET G Commentary on the preceding ideas
The Petrarchan Sonnet The Petrarchan sonnet is an Italian sonnet form popularized by Francesco Petrarch. The Petrarchan sonnet is written using one octave followed by a sestet. The rhyme scheme is: ◦ ABBAABBA CDECDE ◦ The rhyme scheme of the Petrarchan sonnet can vary, but the above is most common. The Petrarchan sonnet is often written in two stanzas: one for the octave, and one for the sestet.
The Petrarchan Sonnet A B A An OCTAVE—the first eight lines A States a proposition or B raises a problem/question. B A C D E A SESTET—the last six lines C Applies the proposition or D solves/answers the problem/question. E
Sestinas Sestinas are highly-structured poems containing thirty-nine lines. They are designed using six sestets followed by a single tercet (three lines) often called the envoy or tornada. The trick to sestinas is that the same six words end the six sestets, but in different orders.
Sestina Structure Sestet 1: 123456 Sestet 2: 615243 Sestet 3: 364125 Sestet 4: 532614 Sestet 5: 451362 Sestet 6: 246531 Tercet: ◦ Line 1: 6,2 ◦ Line 2: 1,4 ◦ Line 3: 5,3 Example of the end of the first two sestets: 1. Word 2. Book 3. English 4. Read 5. Novel 6. Poem 1. Poem 2. Word 3. Novel 4. Book 5. Read 6. English
Rondeaus A Rondeau is a highly-structured form of French poetry. Rondeaus are written using 15 lines, working around two rhymes. The 15 lines are divided typically into three five-line stanzas, though this varies.
Rondeau Structure The following is a typical rondeau form used in English poetry: Stanza 1: AABBA Stanza 2: AAB C (refrain) Stanza 3:AABBA C(refrain) Notice that this rondeau form divides the 15 lines differently, but that is okay!
Rondeau Example WE wear the mask that grins and lies, (A) It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— (A) This debt we pay to human guile; (B) With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, (B) And mouth with myriad subtleties. (A) Why should the world be over-wise, (A) In counting all our tears and sighs? (A) Nay, let them only see us, while (B) We wear the mask. (Refrain) We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries (A) To thee from tortured souls arise. (A) We sing, but oh the clay is vile (B) Beneath our feet, and long the mile; (B) But let the world dream otherwise, (A) We wear the mask! (Refrain) “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Your Assignment Write one closed-form poem (not one of each). Your choices are: ◦ a sonnet ◦ a sestina ◦ a rondeau You must follow the form precisely. Your poem will be due on Tuesday, January 22.