Have you studied sonnets before, and if so, what did you learn?
Have you ever tried to write a sonnet? Why or why not? What was the subject or theme of your sonnet?
What would be the value of using the sonnet form to express yourself rather than free verse?
POETRY LESSON #7: Sonnets
Sonnet: Petrarchan (octet/quatrains, sestet/tercets: abba abba ccd eed), Shakespearean (quatrains and couplet: abab cdcd efef gg), English Sonnet (abba abba cdc efe OR abba abba cdcd ee), sequences
Crown of Sonnets: Marilyn Nelson, “A Wreath for Emmet Till”
Variations: caudate (full sonnet followed by a coda or tail) and curtal (invented by Gerard Manly Hopkins, 10 1/2 lines, divided into sestet and quatrain with a final half-line. Example: “Pied Beauty“)
1) Examine the concluding couplets of three Shakespearean sonnets. Could these stand alone as wise sayings? What is their significance apart from the rest of the sonnet?
2) Examine the opening lines of Marilyn Nelson’s sonnets in “A Wreath for Emmett Till.” Read the final sonnet in the wreath.
Trace the tradition of sonnets honoring a “beloved woman” from Petrarch (trans. by Mark Musa and/or Wyatt and Howard) to Spenser to Sydney to Shakespeare to Donne to Milton.
Read a selection of sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Write a sonnet. Any form of the sonnet is acceptable: Petrarchan, Shakespearean, English, caudate, curtal …
Read “The ABC’s of Poetic Forms” (see packet) and know the meanings of each term used in it to designate genres of poetry.