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The Sonnet

Description of the Sonnet, its history and how to write a sonnet

Barb Larochelle

on 6 May 2013

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Transcript of The Sonnet

The sonnet is a strict form of poetry:
14 lines
Iambic pentameter
set end rhyme scheme
about a single subject or topic
first 8 lines introduce the 'problem' or question
9th line takes a turn (volta), often using 'But' or 'Yet'
last 6 lines resolve the problem or question Two Basic Forms of the sonnet:
Italian (Petrarchan)
English (Shakespearean) The Sonnet The Italian Sonnet
created by Giacomo de Lentini
used by famous Italian writers such as Dante
most famously used by Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) Francesco Petrarca Petrarch was an Italian scholar, poet, and humanist who lived in the 14th Century . He is sometimes called "the Father of Humanism."
He was also one of the first people to refer to the time preceding the Renaissance as "the Dark Ages." One of Petrarch's most famous
works was a book called the Canzoniere, filled with songs and sonnets. Petrarch's 'Laura'
may have been a real woman, Laure de Noves, who lived at the time, or might be a fictionalized, idealized woman, whose name comes from the laurel wreath Petrarch is often depicted as wearing. The Petrarchan sonnet has
8 lines (called an octave)
with the rhyme scheme
followed by
6 lines (called a sestet)
A variation of these Thomas Wyatt introduced the sonnet form of poetry to England in the 15th Century and wrote the first known sonnets in English. Wyatt, a courtier in the court of King Henry VIII, learned about sonnets by travelling to Italy and Spain. Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, alas, I may no more;
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that furthest come behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow; I leave off therefore,
Since in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I, may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain,
There is written her fair neck round about,
"Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame." Wyatt's sonnet was believed to be about Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, and was also derived from Petrarch's Sonnet 190. During the reign of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare began his writing career Wyatt's sonnets still followed the
'Italian' style in terms of rhyme scheme and arrangement of the lines Shakspeare popularized a variation of the sonnet that was more suited to the English language because of its rhyme scheme I do not like green eggs and ham
I do not like them, Sam I Am! When you say these lines, your chin drops lower on each stressed syllable. Each pair of stressed and unstressed syllables is called an 'iamb'. #190 Iambic pentameter=
Five 'metric' feet of
iambs or a line with five iambs The English or Shakespearean sonnet also has 14 lines like the Italian sonnet.

The difference is the rhyme scheme, which has been altered to be more suitable to English. The English sonnet has 3 quatrains and a couplet at the end.
The rhyme scheme is
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG Iambs are not the only named metres.
There are other named metres 2. Dimeter: When I | descend

3. Trimeter: When I | was one-| and-twenty

4. Tetrameter: Had we | but world | enough | and time

5. Pentameter: To be | or not | to be, | that is | the question Disyllables
˘ ˘ pyrrhus, dibrach
˘ ¯ iamb
¯ ˘ trochee, choree
¯ ¯ spondee Trisyllables
˘ ˘ ˘ tribrach
¯ ˘ ˘ dactyl
˘ ¯ ˘ amphibrach
˘ ˘ ¯ anapest, antidactylus
˘ ¯ ¯ bacchius
¯ ¯ ˘ antibacchius
¯ ˘ ¯ cretic There can also be a variety of metric 'feet' or groups of each type of metre in a line The trochee (stressed/unstressed) is even more common than the iamb and is often used in children's verse. Una candida cerva sopra l'erba
verde m'apparve, con duo corna d'oro,
fra due riviere, all'ombra d'un alloro,
levando 'l sole a la stagione acerba.

Era sua vista sí dolce superba,
ch'i' lasciai per seguirla ogni lavoro:
come l'avaro che 'n cercar tesoro
con diletto l'affanno disacerba.

" Nessun mi tocchi - al bel collo d'intorno
scritto avea di diamanti et di topazi - :
libera farmi al mio Cesare parve ".

Et era 'l sol già vòlto al mezzo giorno,
gli occhi miei stanchi di mirar, non sazi,
quand'io caddi ne l'acqua, et ella sparve. Of the 366 poems in the book, 317 were sonnets dedicated to 'Laura'. Sonnet - Billy Collins

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 wile 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.

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