The Sonnet: Poetic Form | Academy of American Poets
For example, scripts, sonnets, novels etc. All of these are different text types that a writer can use. The form of a text is important because it indicates the writer's. At first thought, the difference between form and structure can seem very fine, and it may be that at times they overlap, but there is certainly a. This article will show you the importance of Sonnet and how to use it. A sonnet is a The difference between a sonnet and a ballad lies in form and substance.
Even if not necessarily superior to but merely other than other classification systems, the power of this new taxonomy is considerable, as are the effects it could have on the teaching of poetry and poetry writing.
The new taxonomy makes us see poems in new ways, making very new connections among seemingly radically varying poems, forms, schools.
Anyone who has ever told a joke is familiar with the ironic structure. Anyone who has ever confessed anything about their past—privately or to another person—in order to make resolutions about the future already has employed the retrospective-prospective structure.
Structures can be efficiently and effectively pointed out, shown to be relevant and revealing, and put to immediate use in analyzing and creating poems.
Students can appreciate and compose poems as terrific examples of speech acts they use every day. But it is not just students who need to become familiar with structure. The professionals need it, as well. Without a concept like structure, even experienced poets make mistakes in how we represent poems. Norton,of course focuses forms, but it also includes what might be called poetic modes, the larger traditions of poetry that include elegy and ode.
And so the anthology suggests that it—and, through it, form—provides a comprehensive accounting of important means for making poems. Of course, many turns appear throughout the anthology, but the effect is that, without being highlighted, the turns seem like insignificant, incident parts of the poems and not, as they really are, truly major component of what it takes to make a poem.
The absence of structural focus—or even consideration—is perhaps even greater in the realm of poetry-writing pedagogy. What fires it up is thinking about the power of the language.
This can be a strategy for getting to the heart of a poem. Poetic techniques or devices Ways in which a poet uses language in a particular way to create effect eg simile, metaphor, alliteration, personification. How do specific techniques link to meaning? Identifying techniques is only the first step. A good analysis has to think about how these link to meaning and effect. Select one thing that strikes you about the form, structure or language and think about how that might link to the meaning or effect of the opening.
By opening the poem in this way, he immediately conveys what a strong impression she made on him. Comparing her to such a striking natural scene suggests he finds her very beautiful, perhaps even sparkling like the stars he refers to and therefore standing out from other people.
In the third quatrain he speaks to a particular person he will miss. The powerful language of the ending couplet, "Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink," provides an example of the strength of the Shakespearean ending.Sonnet (An Introduction)( explained in Hindi)
A third poem from the Romantic period was written by Charlotte Smith. Many of her poems are quite appropriate for middle school students. I chose "To the Moon" because I have often had students who love to use moon, star, and sky images in their poetry.
The first quatrain speaks to the moon appreciatively, mentioning her delight in watching its movement. In the second quatrain the speaker raises the thought that the moon might provide comfort for the wretched, introducing a related, but more intense reflection.
Elaboration on this idea fills the third quatrain, and the poem ends with a concluding, strong wish of the speaker. Students will be able to see the usefulness of the Shakespearean sonnet's structure to Charlotte Smith's subject matter. No curriculum unit on the sonnet can be put forth without including at least one sonnet written by Shakespeare. Shakespeare's sonnets, taken together, are frequently described as a sequence, and this is generally divided into two sections.
Sonnets focus on a young man and the speaker's friendship with him, and Sonnets focus on the speaker's relationship with a woman. However, in only a few of the poems in the first group is it clear that the person being addressed is a male.
And most of the poems in the sequence as a whole are not direct addresses to another person. Students should recognize that the first line is a question, and then understand that the speaker realizes that no, the young man is far superior to a summer day, the comparison is not enough.
The speaker then goes on to elaborate on why the young man is finer than a summer's day. His youth will not fade, nor will his beauty. The ending couplet wraps up the speaker's adoration by declaring that the poem will give him immortality. Presenting sonnets from this category to students will add to their understanding of form's integral importance to a poem. A sonnet written in the early 's by Ben Jonson provides a clear example of changes in form that enhance the poem's statement.
The sonnet is only 12 lines long, a truncated sonnet. Students should easily be able to grasp the poet's desire to cut the sonnet short, just as his son's life was cut short.
What is the difference between form and structure?
Jonson also varied the traditional rhyme scheme and uses an aabbccddeeff scheme. This deviation from the traditional sonnet form might not be as easy for students to grasp, but they may sense that it is more of a nursery rhyme or childlike rhyme pattern. The meter in this poem also illustrates a deviation. The first two lines are strict iambic pentameter, then the meter becomes irregular. Could this be a structural reference to the confusion and wrenching apart of Jonson's emotional being?
The major deviation in the sonnet "Acquainted With the Night," by Robert Frost is the use of terza rima.
The Sonnet: Poetic Form
This is a rhyme scheme of aba, bcb, cdc, ded, etc. Frost's fourth stanza is actually dad and then he concludes with a rhyming couplet, aa. Students can be asked why the three line stanzas were chosen by Frost instead of the traditional quatrains in a sonnet. Was there a reason he returned to the a rhyme in the fourth stanza instead of moving to an e?
Why did he return to the a in the concluding couplet and to a repetition of the first line? Is this a poem about loneliness, the problems with city life, or Frost's general encounters with the darker issues of his life? Many middle school students are already familiar with e. His sonnet "next to of course god America i…" makes use of his characteristic form innovations plus uses a mix of the Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnet forms. Ask students why cummings uses a mixture of two sonnet forms.
Might the mixing of the two help to show a mix of confused ideology? Why did cummings string together the words "deafanddumb?
Another very obvious form deviation is the last line, which is separated from the rest of the poem, uses correct capitalization and punctuation, and is not in quotes. This line also includes an unusual syntax, cummings says "drank rapidly" instead of rapidly drank.
One critic suggests that "this syntactical inversion serves to indicate the similar transformation of the sonnet form which cummings has effected in terms of form and further serves to point to the inverted philosophy of the speaker of lines one through thirteen. Each line contains 13 syllables. What fun middle school students will have with these sonnets, posing theories about what Hollander was up to.
In the sonnets Hollander speaks to an unknown person. This mysterious figure seems to be a female friend, perhaps an old friend or a rarely seen lover.
However, at least one critic claims that the poems are addressed to his imagination, not an actual person. If the entire collection can be shown to students, Hollander's choice to write sonnets of 13 lines will be more powerful, but one poem can work as well. Sonnet 6, "Fancy Pants," is light and characterizes a younger sister, to whom everyone paid attention. This child was a mischief maker and occasionally worked in collusion with the speaker in the poem.
If the poems are really written to Hollander's imagination, then what might the little sister represent? The poems in this collection are also good examples of what contemporary sonnet writers do with line breaks and enjambment.
Studying the Sonnet: An Introduction to the Importance of Form in Poetry
This collection is available as a volume, but the entire group is also published in John Hollander: If students are interested in the 13 line poems of Hollander, they might want to investigate the 18 line sonnets written by another contemporary poet, John Berryman in his Dream Songs.
I will present a final sonnet here that deviates from traditional form, written by a contemporary poet who was a participant in the Yale July Intensive Seminar, Mary Carol Moran.
She has given permission to include the poem in this unit. October Song An ambient pair of broccoli brains, dancing above a moonlit sidewalk, weaves through the night in silent crispiness. They glance past wilting celery, stalking a more fertile bough. The ocean echoes back with blood-blue words and tells them tales of a cauliflower perdu, who once sang summer hymns of waving chords but now drips peas down a column of roux. They pause to hurry, wondering what to say.
Could the sea be right? They shiver, fight the ancient calm that dims their fear. They must deny, knowing winter will bring blight despite the promises of spring. If only a welcoming yellow, an ear of corn, a squash, would light them home. Although the rhyme sequence of Moran's poem follows a strict Shakespearean form, she uses line breaks to create interesting effects.
Earlier sonneteers were much more likely to end stop most or all of their lines, although both Shakespeare and Milton both did a lot of enjambing. Contemporary sonnet writers enjamb almost everything and use end stopping for pointed effect. The two end stopped lines 8 and 9, bracket the turn in the poem classic sonnet turn. End stopping is a way to say to the reader, "Pay attention now.
Many of her rhymes are not full rhymes, for instance dancing and glance and welcoming and home. Through and bough are sight rhymes, words which look alike but aren't pronounced alike.
Students should be asked to observe what is happening in each quatrain. Do they build on each other or does each quatrain pronounce a shift in the poet's thought process? Other Sonnets to Use Students and teachers might want to examine more sonnets written by African American poets of the early 20th century.
An African American poet who preceded that time period and published many sonnets is Paul Laurence Dunbar. A Guide to English Verse. In this collection, Hollander writes explanatory verse for all major English poetic forms.
His three poems on the sonnet explain the Shakespearean and Petrarchan forms, and one expounds on variations. Students will definitely enjoy untangling his explanations. As mentioned earlier, sonnets written about sonnets proliferate. They are designed to help students determine the basic formulaic "rules" and to reinforce their learning of these rules.
The first lesson can be done individually or in small groups. It asks students use inductive reasoning to determine the standard rules for sonnet writing. Six poems are suggested earlier in the section Sonnet Group 1. The teacher or students may want to prepare a chart or some other graphic organizer to help students record their findings. Students should notice the following characteristics in each sonnet: As they attempt to make generalizations based on their observations, they should be warned that the examples provided fall into two types of sonnets.
The entire class needs to list the generalizations on the blackboard or on chart paper and compare them with generally accepted rules of the sonnet form. After this initial activity, the basics can be reinforced in a second activity. The teacher should gather more standard sonnets in both the Petrarchan and Shakespearean forms. Some possible sonnets to use are: Vincent Millay, "To Science" by Edgar Allan Poe, " 73, That time of year though mayst in me behold" by William Shakespeare, or any other sonnet that doesn't deviate from the basic prescription.
The Structure-Form Distinction | Structure & Surprise
These sonnets can be blown up to a larger size, and then the teacher should cut the lines apart. Give the lines from a sonnet to a small group and challenge the students to put them in the right order, based on the rhyme and form rules from the previous lesson. This should be fun, and there can even be contests among groups. The teacher can give the same six poems to each group and see who can put them together quickly and correctly. Another twist on this activity would be to let teams challenge each other.
Each team would have to find five or more poems, cut them up, then challenge another team to put them back together. Now they must attempt to make sense of the deeper importance of the sonnet form. The questions provided can be used in large group discussion, small group work, or individually and hopefully the teacher will have time to do all three.
If the teacher follows the suggestions in the Strategies section of the unit for large group, small group, and individual close reading, then each student will be afforded plenty of practice in understanding sonnets.
Before addressing any of the following questions, students should be encouraged to mark up their sonnets, identifying the rhyme scheme, drawing lines between the quatrains, noting the turn between the octave and the sestet. Questions for Shakespearean sonnets: Do the poet's thoughts shift or grow?
Do the three quatrains build on each other? Is it a conclusion? Does it restate something in the sonnet in stronger terms? Does it refute or contradict a point made in the first 12 lines? Questions for Petrarchan sonnets: Is a proposal or situation presented? Is a question asked? What is the poet doing at the turn?
Does the sestet release any tension created in the octave? What is the topic of this sonnet? Why is the topic of this sonnet especially suited to such a concise form? Does the sonnet begin with a scene or image drawn from the external world? Does the poet then compare the image with some state of mind or emotion? Is there a tight thematic structure? Can you identify two related thoughts in the sonnet, either contrasting or parallel?
Do the ideas or thoughts expressed in the sonnet seem to move forward in a logical way? Does the sonnet remind you of the way the human mind works?
Does it reflect or mirror an intellectual or emotional process? Has the poet achieved a wholeness within the sonnet? How would you explain that wholeness? How does this poem fit the definition of the sonnet as a coherent, packed, and charged form? Two Required Poems As a part of this unit, students will write at least two sonnets. The first will demonstrate the students' knowledge of the architectural form of the sonnet as well as an understanding of what that structure can do for the poem.
This sonnet should be written after the first two groups of sonnets have been presented to students. The second poem assignment will challenge students to write an original sonnet and make some structural change to it. This structural change must be related to the meaning and purpose of the poem. Students will write this sonnet after examining the third group of sonnets, those that illustrate a departure from strict structure.
After spending four or five days reading and discussing sonnets, students should be itching to try their hands at writing some.