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How to Write a Sonnet Poem?

30.05.2022

How to Write a Sonnet Poem?
School educationHigher Education
  1. What is The Sonnet?
  2. What is The Form of a Sonnet?
  3. How to Write a Sonnet?
  4. Examples of Sonnet in Poetry

 

Admiring poetry can develop into a lifelong affair over time. One of the most common and famous poetic genres is a sonnet. Even familiarizing with this genre requires a certain level of knowledge of literature theory. Not to mention the practice of self-writing sonnets. 

 

What is The Sonnet?

Let's talk about one of the special types of lyrics, which is quite constant. The classic definition of a sonnet is based on its formal features – two four-line verses (quatrains) with cross rhyming and two three-line verses (tercets) with ternary rhyming. There are 14 poetic lines in total. Therefore, this lyrical genre is so recognizable. Most often we can meet samples of sonnet poems in meditative and landscape lyrics. 

how to write a sonnet

 

But anyway, the sonnet turned out to be one of the most popular and viable types of lyrics of all time. The flourishing of the genre occurred in the Renaissance era. In particular, this poetic form was addressed by such world classics as P. de Ronsard, W.Shakespeare, G.Boccaccio, Lope de Vega. With the change of literary epochs, the theme of the sonnet evolved – from purely love to philosophical, satirical, and political.

 

If you think the sonnet is the standard of classicism and the Renaissance period, then you are mistaken. 

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how to write a sonnet

 

What is The Form of a Sonnet?

In general, the traditional form of a sonnet is two quatrains and two tercets, which together make up 14 stanzas. The framework of this canon is supplemented with other permanent features of the genre:

  • iambic pentameter or iambic hexameter;
  • four-line poems have a cross rhyming (abab abab);
  • three-line poems have a ternary rhyming (ccd eed);
  • the accuracy of rhyme, the alternation of male and female rhyme;
  • the avoiding repetition of words in verse text;
  • syntactic completeness of each of the four stanzas;
  • underlined pathetic and prohibition of mixing styles;
  • the disclosure of the topic is dialectical.

As we can see, the classic canons of a sonnet poem are quite strict. In fact, it is a rather complex poetic genre that is difficult to master on your own. In order to learn how to understand the deep poetics of this genre, to characterize its poem features, it will take more than one hour and not one day of hard work. Therefore, it is better to contact an experienced tutor who will help you quickly understand the theory, and perhaps develop your poetic talent. You can find such a teacher in just a few minutes using UpskillsTutor service.

 

The canonical requirements for the sonnet form still changed somewhat and varied depending on the peculiarities of the literature of a country and the historical era. Consider at least varieties of rhyming different from the Italian form. 

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how to write a sonnet

As for the content, the sonnet has clear compositional framework:

  • a certain thesis is expressed in the first four-line poem;
  • the second four-line poem indicates an antithesis;
  • in the tercets we have a summary, or the synthesis of thoughts, which is most accurate in the fourteenth line.

The most complex form of this genre is the so-called "wreath of sonnets": 

how to write a sonnet

 

How to Write a Sonnet?

When writing a sonnet, it is important to remember the obligatory formal features of this genre:

  • 14 lines;
  • 4 stanzas;
  • repetitiveness of rhymes;
  • cross or annular rhyming in quatrain;
  • poetic meter – iambic pentameter or iambic hexameter;
  • thesis – antithesis – synthesis – conclusion.

Next, follow the proposed algorithm:

  1. decide on the topic and issues;
  2. determine the sample that you will be guided by, such as English, French or Italian sonnet, etc.;
  3. choose a rhyme scheme, for example, a Petrarchan sonnet, a Shakespearean sonnet, etc.; 
  4. reread the sonnets of classics;
  5. optionally get acquainted with genre varieties of sonnet, namely: free, incorrect, tail, headless, half-sonnet, inverted, curly, frame, cobbled, sonnet with code, sonnet with one quatrain, sonnet-acrostic, sonnet-fable, sonnet-dialog, etc.;
  6. write your poem sonnet;
  7. check it again and edit it according to the genre canons;
  8. make sure that each line and stanza is compositionally and semantically intact;
  9. you can experiment and come up with your genre modifications, but remember that the sonnet is one of the most resistant genre forms;
  10. if you are not sufficiently skilled in writing poems, first practice creating rhymed four-line verses, then tercets. 

You will achieve the fastest result if you have the opportunity to work with a true sonnetist or a wonderful literature theorist. The master of poetic art will be able to share some secrets of his or her work and inspire you to create your own unique images, metaphors, comparisons, rhythmic patterns. After all, the sonnet genre requires the skillful usage of the art of words and the perfect sense of poetic rhythm and melody.

 

Examples of Sonnet in Poetry

Classic and modern examples of a sonnet poem will help you to navigate and create your own poetic samples.

The model of classical English sonnet is Shakespeare's literary work. Consider the Sonnet 16.

how to write a sonnet

 

The classic Italian sonnet by F.Petrarch.

how to write a sonnet

Sonnet does not lose its popularity today. Let us give an example of a modern sonnet in the style of modernism, which calls in question the traditional themes and formal canons. In the work of the American poet B.Collins there is a slight irony regarding the view of the genre framework of the sonnet.

how to write a sonnet

If you want to learn how to write sonnets, you should contact a tutor-linguist. The teacher will : 

  • evaluate your poems professionally;
  • help to correct problematic lines;
  • develop a sense of rhythm and melody;
  • improve skills of using means of poetic expressiveness. 

On the site UpskillsTutor you can choose a tutor with the professional characteristics you need. 

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How to Write a Sonnet Poem?

What is The Sonnet?

The classic definition of a sonnet is based on its formal features – two four-line verses (quatrains) with cross rhyming and two three-line verses (tercets) with ternary rhyming. Read more on UpskillsTutor

How Many Lines is a Sonnet?

There are 14 poetic lines in total. Therefore, this lyrical genre is so recognizable. Most often we can meet samples of sonnet poems in meditative and landscape lyrics. Read more on UpskillsTutor

What is The Form of a Sonnet?

In general, the traditional form of a sonnet is two quatrains and two tercets, which together make up 14 stanzas. The framework of this canon is supplemented with other permanent features of the genre: Read more on UpskillsTutor

How to Write a Sonnet?

When writing a sonnet, it is important to remember the obligatory formal features of this genre: 14 lines; 4 stanzas; repetitiveness of rhymes; cross or annular rhyming in quatrain; poetic meter – iambic pentameter or iambic hexameter; thesis – antithesis – synthesis – conclusion. Read more on UpskillsTutor