A sonnet is a type of poem.
It has one of a number of strict rhyme schemes. The type of sonnet it is (and what it’s called) depends on the particular rhyme scheme
It usually (but not always)
- has 14 lines.
- is written in iambic pentameter (five pairs of syllables with each pair an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. For more info, see the 10/19 post “Things You Learned in School – Iambic Pentameter” )
And, they’re lots of fun to write.
Because a sonnet has only so many syllables in a line, and so many lines in the sonnet; and because the accents need to fall correctly, writing a sonnet is like doing some kind of word puzzle and telling a story or expressing an emotion while you do it.
If this sounds like a straight jacket, perhaps writing sonnets is not for you. For me, I’m not a terribly precise and detail oriented person, but it’s a great delight to find just the right word or phrase that fits the structure and still stirs the emotions and tells the story I’m trying to tell.
I’ll be talking more about different kinds of sonnets in the future, so you’ll have the tools you need to make your own if you like…