The sonnet


Published on

Introduction to the sonnet and other fixed forms of poetry.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The sonnet

  1. 1. Poetic Forms & Genres<br />The Sonnet & Other Fixed Forms<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  2. 2. Fixed Forms<br />A poem in fixed form is controlled as to its length; and it may have other restrictions as well, such as particular rhyme or metrical schemes, or line-lengths, or the repetition of lines.<br />Fixed Forms include the limerick and the haiku<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  3. 3. Haiku<br />A 17 syllable poem divided into 3 lines, the first consisting of 5 syllables, the second of 7, and the third of 5. Modern example:<br />Rain turns creator<br />all the dandelions explode<br />like supernovae<br />(Michael Hartnett)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  4. 4. On to the Sonnet<br /><ul><li>The word comes from the Italian word sonetto, meaning a little sound or song,
  5. 5. Originated in 12thC Italy based on old folk song stanza
  6. 6. First recognisable sonnets associated with ‘Courtly Love’
  7. 7. Petrarch 1304-74
  8. 8. Sir Thomas Wyatt 1502-42, Henry Howard 1517-47
  9. 9. Shakespeare, Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney: Elizabethan Sonnet</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  10. 10. Other Sonnet themes<br />Religious sonnets: John Donne, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins<br />Political sonnet – Shelley ‘England in 1819’<br />Society – Wordsworth ‘Upon Westminster Bridge’<br />War- Owen ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’<br />Sonnets popular in most eras but NOT the Neoclassical era<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  11. 11. Sonnet Patterns<br />a poem of 14 lines in iambic pentameter, usually set out as one stanza, and following a complex rhyme scheme<br /> ‘the sonnet is the ultimate stanza, an enclosed place of words alive with currents of energy and places to rest.’ (Annie Finch)<br />‘a small square poem...a box for your dreams’. (Don Patterson)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  12. 12. The Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet<br /><ul><li>Octave A First Quatrain</li></ul> B<br /> B<br /> A<br /> ASecond Quatrain<br /> B<br /> B<br /> A<br />TURN (‘Volta’)----------------------------------------<br />Sestet C C C Variations for sestet<br /> D DD<br /> E C E<br /> C D C<br /> D C E<br /> E D D<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  13. 13. ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ (Keats)<br /> <br />Much have I travelled in the realms of gold, <br />And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; <br />Round many western islands have I been <br />Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. <br />Oft of one wide expanse had I been told <br />That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne; <br />Yet did I never breathe its pure serene <br />Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: <br /> <br />Then felt I like some watcher of the skies <br />When a new planet swims into his ken; <br />Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes<br />He stared at the Pacific, and all his men <br />Looked at each other with a wild surmise – <br />Silent, upon a peak in Darien. <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  14. 14. Unholy Sonnet Mark Jarman<br />  <br />After the praying, after the hymn-singing, <br />After the sermon’s trenchant commentary <br />On the world’s ills, which make ours secondary, <br />After communion, after the hand wringing, <br />And after peace descends upon us, bringing <br />Our eyes up to regard the sanctuary <br />And how the light swords through it, and how, scary <br />In their sheer numbers, motes of dust ride, clinging— <br />There is, as doctors say about some pain, <br />Discomfort knowing that despite your prayers, <br />Your listening and rejoicing, your small part <br />In this communal stab at coming clean, <br />There is one stubborn remnant of your cares <br />Intact. There is still murder in your heart. <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  15. 15. The Volta<br />Some critics connect the Volta with general tendencies in art, nature and maths e.g.<br />Fibonacci sequence and Golden Ratio (8:13)<br />Achange of mood or tone about two thirds into a poem, piece of music or painting?<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  16. 16. Petrarchan Variations –e.g. different rhyme schemes for the two quatrains:<br />Gwendolyn Brooks’s ‘The Rites for Cousin Vit’:<br /> <br />Carried her unprotesting out the door<br />Kicked back the casket-stand. But it can’t hold her,<br />That stuff and satin aiming to enfold her,<br />The lid’s contrition nor the bolts before.<br />Oh oh. Too much. Too much. Even now, surmise,<br />She rises in sunshine. There she goes<br />Back to the bars she knew and the repose<br />In love-rooms and the things in people’s eyes.<br />Too vital and too squeaking. Must emerge.<br />Even now, she does the snake-hips with a hiss,<br />Slaps the bad wine across her shantung, talks<br />Of pregnancy, guitars and bridgework, walks<br />In parks or alleys, comes haply on the verge<br />Of happiness, haply hysterics. Is.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  17. 17. The Shakesperian Sonnet<br /><ul><li>A First Quatrain
  18. 18. B
  19. 19. A
  20. 20. B
  21. 21. C Second Quatrain
  22. 22. D
  23. 23. C
  24. 24. D
  25. 25. (TURN-------------------?)
  26. 26. E Third Quatrain
  27. 27. F
  28. 28. E
  29. 29. F
  30. 30. G Concluding Couplet
  31. 31. G</li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  32. 32. e.g. Shakespeare Sonnet 66<br />Tired with all these, for restful death I cry, -<br />As to behold desert a beggar born,<br />And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity,<br />And purest faith unhappily forsworn,<br />And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d,<br />And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,<br />And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d,<br />And strength by limping sway disabled,<br />And art made tongue-tied by authority,<br />And folly (doctor-like) controlling skill,<br />And simple truth miscall’d simplicity,<br />And captive good attending captain ill:<br /> Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,<br /> Save that to die I leave my love alone.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  33. 33. Shakespeare Sonnet 18<br />Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?<br />Thou art more lovely and more temperate.<br />Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,<br />And summer's lease hath all too short a date.<br />Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,<br />And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;<br />And every fair from fair sometime declines,<br />By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;<br />But thy eternal summer shall not fade<br />Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;<br />Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,<br />When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:<br />So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,<br />So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  34. 34. Spenserian Sonnet: abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee<br />One day I wrote her name upon the strand, <br />But came the waves and washed it away: <br />Again I wrote it with a second hand, <br />But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. <br />Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay <br />A mortal thing so to immortalize! <br />For I myself shall like to this decay, <br />And eek my name be wiped out likewise. <br />Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise <br />To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: <br />My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, <br />And in the heavens write your glorious name; <br />Where, whenas death shall all the world subdue, <br />Our love shall live, and later life renew. (Spenser, Amoretti 2)<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  35. 35. Meredithian Sonnet: 16 linesAbba, cddc, effe, ghhg<br />George Meredith, from Modern Love (1862)<br />By this he knew she wept with waking eyes: <br />That, at his hand's light quiver by her head, <br />The strange low sobs that shook their common bed <br />Were called into her with a sharp surprise, <br />And strangely mute, like little gasping snakes, <br />Dreadfully venomous to him. She lay <br />Stone-still, and the long darkness flowed away <br />With muffled pulses. Then, as midnight makes <br />Her giant heart of Memory and Tears <br />Drink the pale drug of silence, and so beat <br />Sleep's heavy measure, they from head to feet <br />Were moveless, looking through their dead black years, <br />By vain regret scrawled over the blank wall. <br />Like sculptured effigies they might be seen <br />Upon their marriage-tomb, the sword between; <br />Each wishing for the sword that severs all. <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  36. 36. Curtal Sonnet: like Petrarchan but proportion of 6:4 ½ instead of 8:6<br /> “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manly Hopkins (1877) <br />  <br /> Glory be to God for dappled things <br /> For skies of couple colour as a brindled cow; <br /> For rosemoles all in stipple upon trout that swim <br /> Fresh firecoal chestnut falls; finches’ wings; <br /> Landscape plotted and pieced <br /> Fold, fallow and trim. <br /> All things counter, original, spare, strange; <br /> Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) <br /> With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim <br /> He fathers forth whose beauty is past change; <br /> Praise him.  <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  37. 37. ‘The Sonnet-Ballad’Gwendolyn Brooks (1949)<br />Oh mother, mother, where is happiness? <br />They took my lover’s tallness off to war, <br />Left me lamenting. Now I cannot guess <br />What I can use an empty heart-cup for. <br />He won’t be coming back here any more. <br />Some day the war will end, but, oh, I knew <br />When he went walking grandly out that door <br />That my sweet love would have to be untrue. <br />Would have to be untrue. Would have to court <br />Coquettish death, whose impudent and strange <br />Possessive arms and beauty (of a sort) <br />Can make a hard man hesitate—and change. <br />And he will be the one to stammer, “Yes.” <br />Oh mother, mother, where is happiness?  <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  38. 38. Other Sonnet Variations<br /><ul><li>Caudate (tail) sonnet:  a sonnet of any type, followed by an extra couplet
  39. 39. Chained or linked sonnet:  each line starts with last word of previous line
  40. 40. Continuous or reiterating sonnet: uses only one or two rhymes in the entire sonnet
  41. 41. Crown of sonnets:  a sequence of sonnets, each of which begins with the last line of the previous sonnet
  42. 42. Interwoven sonnet:  includes both medial (middle of line) and end rhyme
  43. 43. Miltonic sonnet:  an Italian sonnet with little or no break in sense at the volta, creating a gradual culmination of the idea
  44. 44. Retrograde sonnet: reads the same backwards as forwards </li></ul>Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  45. 45. Contemporary variations include:<br />Unrhymed metrical sonnets<br />Rhymed non-metrical sonnets <br />Sonnets of various lengths that keep rhyme and meter<br />E.g. American poet Robert Lowell wrote three collections of unrhymed sonnets in the 1960s and 70s:<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  46. 46. History, Robert Lowell <br />  <br />History has to live with what was here, <br />clutching and close to fumbling all we had— <br />it is so dull and gruesome how we die, <br />unlike writing, life never finishes. <br />Abel was finished; death is not remote, <br />a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic, <br />his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire, <br />his baby crying all night like a new machine. <br />As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory, <br />the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter’s moon ascends— <br />a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes, <br />my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull’s no-nose— <br />O there’s a terrifying innocence in my face <br />drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.  <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  47. 47. Other Fixed Forms: The Villanelle<br />Do not go gentle into that good night,<br />Old age should burn and rave at close of day;<br />Rage, rage against the dying of the light.<br /> <br />Though wise men at their end know dark is right,<br />Because their words had forked no lightning they<br />Do not go gentle into that good night.<br /> <br />Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright<br />Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,<br />Rage, rage against the dying of the light.<br /> <br />Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,<br />And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,<br />Do not go gentle into that good night.<br /> <br />Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight<br />Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, <br />Rage, rage against the dying of the light.<br /> <br />And you, my father, there on the sad height,<br />Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.<br />Do not go gentle into that good night.<br />Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (Dylan Thomas) <br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />
  48. 48. Fixed and Semi-Fixed Forms<br />Fixed Forms include : Haiku, Limerick, Sonnet, Villanelle, Sestina<br />Semi-Fixed Forms (no prescribed length) include: Pantoum, Terza Rima<br />Further investigation in theNorton Book of Poetic Forms edited by Strand & Boland.<br />Sarah Law Poetic Forms & Genres<br />