I suppose I should start thinking of titles for my posts; however, I am enjoying the clinical bareness of it all. Perhaps when I reach Blog Day 194 it might get tiresome, but for now, I am satisfied.
Today’s topic is the sonnet. If you’ve explored my site at all, you already know I have a poetry section where I have posted several of my sonnets. And if you haven’t (explored), what are you waiting for?! Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Good, you’re back! Anyway, I have penned upwards of 70 sonnets over the past two years, some of which are far too personal to share at the present time, and continue to seek topics that inspire me to create more. One of my new favorite sites—Prose—has more recent ones (“Infatuation”, “Luminosity”, “Tes Yeux”, and the truly eclectic “A Sonnet for My Schnoz”) if you’d like to take a look.
Sonnet Central provides a broad overview of the three primary types of sonnets: Spencerian, Italian (or Petrarchan), and, my favorite, English (or Shakespearean); however, Poets.org asserts that Petrarchan and Shakespearean are the two forms from which all other variations such as the Spencerian and Miltonic are based. I’ll let them fight it out. I am only here to inform.
Because I prefer the Shakespearean style, I will focus upon this type. This style consists of three quatrains and a couplet with a specific rhyming pattern
a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
Of fundamental importance is that the poem is written in iambic pentameter which is a poetic meter that consists of five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables (or iambs)—for a total of ten syllables per line. This provides the rhythm, or musicality, if you will, of the sonnet.
I started composing sonnets when I sponsored an inmate writing group and one of our monthly prompts was to try different poetic styles. While the majority of the guys selected the limerick (no surprise there)—and since I had already dabbled in limericks, triptychs, tankas, and haiku—I embraced the challenge of the sonnet and found it to be a welcome endeavor that stimulated my creativity in ways I didn’t think were possible. I wrote sonnets about my nose, football, being a sonnet writer, prison inmates, and depression, among other topics. Even now, when I am toying around with a potential poetic topic, I find I default to the sonnet.
Do you have a favorite poetic style? Please comment below.