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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Sonnet Sonnet Comparison Chart Italian Verse The Sicilian Sonnet The origin of the sonnet has some uncertainty, though it is believed to be born in Italy from the troubadours who sang for the courts and the earliest "true" sonnet is credited to Giacomo da Lentini of the Sicilian court of Frederick II (1197-1250) in the 13th century. Initially the Sicilian Sonnet was written with alternate repeating end words, (word sequence 12121212, 343434). With time, the alternating end word pattern of the Sicilian Sonnet evolved into an alternating rhyme pattern. (Repetition of end words would later appear in the Sestina in a more intricate mathematical sequence.) The difference between Sicilian and Petrarchan or Italian Sonnets is in the construction of the octave - sestet and the rhyme scheme. The elements of the Sicilian Sonnet are: a quatorzain, made up of an octave followed by a sestet. metric, in English, written in iambic pentameter. composed with the octave presenting an idea, problem or question, followed by a sestet finding the solution or resolution. The word "sestet" originally was reserved for the sonnet or other forms in which the group of 6 lines attempts to distinguish itself from other line groups such as the octave of the sonnet. This is in contrast to the words sixain or sexain which are 6 line stanzas usually written in conjunction with other sixains or sexains as in the Sestina. rhymed using only 4 rhymes. The Sicilian is composed of an octave with alternating rhyme abababab followed by an alternating rhyme sestet cdcdcd. Below is my attempt at the Sicilian Sonnet and the first recognized Sicilian Sonnet by Jacopo da Untini's (1188- 1240) "Io rn'aggio posto in core a Dio servire" (translated by John Drury) The Song of Healing The urgent shouts, though muted, dig and dart inside the hidden catacombs of mind, because lost hope and fear can cloud the heart a gift is waiting, patient, pure and kind; when prodding pain is pulling me apart, my need grows deep and still is undefined, the pleading soul surrenders with a start, the gift remains steadfast, with Him aligned. The alleluias' simple healing ways can lift the ailing spirit from despair as music touches all who choose to raise their voice in gratitude and honest care. He craves no gilded song from us in praise, for love of us, He grants the gift of prayer. ~~Judi Van Gorder "Io rn'aggio posto in core a Dio servire" I find room in my heart for serving God so that at last, I might reach Paradise, the holy place where, I have heard it said, solace and ease and gaiety suffice. Without my lady, though, I wouldn't tread heavenward for her blonde hair, her bright face, because my pleasure would be stale indeed if she were not a part of all that bliss. But no, believe me, I have no intent of trafficking in sin while going there. I only want to gaze at her, content with her sweet look, the deepness of her stare so all my consolation would be spent watching my lady's joy reach everywhere. Next the Petrarchan or Italian Sonnet
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Sonnet Sonnet Comparison Chart Italian Verse The Petrarchan Sonnet, also called the Italian Sonnet is one of the two dominant sonnet forms, the other being the English or Shakespearean sonnet. Both have weathered the corruption of time. The Petrarchan Sonnet came on the heels of the first sonnet form, the Sicilian Sonnet which is rarely seen in today's literature. The more popular Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet built on the Sicilian form and converted the original alternating rhyme octave to an octave made up of 2 envelope rhymed quatrains and the alternating rhymed sestet to a sestet made up of 2 tercets with rhyme options of chained, envelope or alternating. In the 14th century the Italian poet, Francesco Petrarch wrote a series of Love Sonnets to Laura, evolving the sonnet from a love song of platonic relationship or veneration of God to show the sonnet as the perfect vehicle for expounding on the wonders and pitfalls of romantic love. A Crown of Sonnets is a series of 7 Sonnets linked by repetition of the last line of each sonnet as the first line of the next sonnet and the last line of the seventh and last sonnet is the first line of the first sonnet. A Wreath or Corona of Sonnets, like the Crown of Sonnets, is a series of Sonnets. But in a "wreath" there are 14 Sonnets linked by repeating the last line of the previous sonnet as the first line of the next sonnet and the first line of the first sonnet is the last line of the last sonnet. Wreath of Sonnets. (Thanks to Aleks for finding this form and a beautiful example for your reading pleasure.) A Sonnet Redouble' is a Wreath or Corona of sonnets with an added 15th sonnet at the end made up of the corresponding first line of the previous 14 sonnets. The elements of the Italian or Petrarchan Sonnets are: a single quatorzain made up of an octave followed by a sestet. composed with the octave presenting an idea, problem or question, followed by a sestet finding the solution or resolution. metered, iambic pentameter. rhymed with 5 rhymes or less. The octave made up of 2 envelope quatrains turned on only 2 rhymes abbaabba is followed by a sestet made up of 2 tercets with a choice of envelope cdccdc, chained cdecde or alternate rhyme cdcdcd. composed with a volta (non physical gap) or pivot (a shifting or tilting of the main line of thought) between the octave and the sestet. The epiphany (manifestation or realization) unravels slowly from octave to sestet. I will put Chaos into fourteen lines And keep him there; and let him thence escape If he be lucky; let him twist, and ape Flood, fire, and demon--his adroit designs Will strain to nothing in the strict confines Of this sweet Order, where, in pious rape, I hold his essence and amorphous shape, Till he with Order mingles and combines. Past are the hours, the years, or our duress, His arrogance, our awful servitude: I have him. He is nothing more than less Than something simple not yet understood; I shall not even force him to confess; Or answer. I will only make him good. ----- Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950) On His Blindness by John Milton (1608-1674) When I consider how my light is spent, Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light denied, I fondly ask; But patience to prevent That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts, who best Bar his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o're Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and waite. My attempt at a 20 minute sonnet challenge in the Playground using the Petrarchan form. Writing in the Dark by judi Van Gorder It's midnight and the race is on to write a sonnet, little song with sounds that please and fits the frame of Petrarch with some ease. A tome in meter tests my brain at night and strains the eyes adjusting to the light. A wonder I've not fallen to my knees, can't even give the time it takes to sneeze as desparation keeps the tempo tight. How do these others play the challenge game, the tune that poets carry in their heads unique to each alone is valued gold. I'll have to read and learn them all by name, but time ticks on and they are in their beds while I am writing words and getting cold. Next, the sonnet goes to England Wyatt/Surrey Sonnet
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Sonnet Sonnet Comparison Chart English Verse The Spenserian Sonnet was named for Edmund Spenser 1552-1599, a 16th century English Poet. The Spenserian Sonnet inherited the tradition of the declamatory couplet of Wyatt / Surrey although Spenser used Sicilian quatrains to develop a metaphor, conflict, idea or question logically, with the declamatory couplet resolving it. Beyond the prerequisite for all sonnets, the elements of the Spenserian Sonnet are: a quatorzain made up of 3 Sicilian quatrains (4 lines alternating rhyme) and ending in a rhyming couplet metric, primarily iambic pentameter. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababbcbccdcdee. composed with a volta (a non physical gap) or pivot (a shifting or tilting of the main line of thought) sometime after the 2nd quatrain. The epiphany is arrived at logically. written with each quatrain developing a metaphor, conflict, idea or question, and the end declamatory couplet providing the resolution. Sonnet LXXV One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away; Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide and made my pains his prey. "Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay A mortal thing so to immortalize, For I myself shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wiped out likewise "Not so." quod I, "Let baser thing devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame; My verse your virtues rare shall eternize And in the heavens write your glorious name, Where, when as death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew." ------Sir Edmund Spenser Amoretti Fresh Spring! the herald of Loves mighty king, In whose coat-armour richly are displayed All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring In goodly colours gloriously arrayed - Go to my love, where she is careless laid, Yet in her winters bower, not well awake; Tell her the joyous time will not be staid, Unless she do him by the forelock take: Bid her, therefore, herself soon ready make To wait on Love amongst his lovely crew, Where every one that misseth then her make, Shall be by him amerced with penance dew. Make haste, therefore, sweet Love! whilst it is prime; For none can call again the passed time. ---- Edmund Spenser 1552-1599 Next William Shakespeare brings popularity to the sonnet
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Sonnet Sonnet Comparison Chart American Verse Blues Sonnet, a distinctly 18th century American verse form that makes use of the Blues Stanza in creating this sonnet. Of course the tone of the poem should be lamenting or mourning. The elements of the Blues Sonnet are: a quatorzain made up of 4 triplets and a heroic couplet. oddly metric, in iambic pentameter. This is in contrast to the usual blue stanza which is accentual, with a more folksy rhythm. rhymed, rhyme scheme AAa BBb CCc DDc ee. it is composed of 4 Blues Stanzas, L1 statement, L2 incremental repetition of L1, and L3 is a climactic parallel of the first 2 lines. pivot or volta should be in the last triplet. and ends in a declamatory couplet. Waiting Prognosis by Judi Van Gorder 5-18-07 Our baby has a cloud above her head yes baby has a cloud above her head she lies in peaceful sleep upon her bed. Too young to fear the threat we've come to know too young, no fear of threat we've come to know. but fear invades and takes our spirits low. We mark the time and wait to hear the news, we mark the time and pace awaiting news. The music plays today, a mournful blues. I try to focus, write of my lament. How can I focus writing my lament, when baby wakes and coos in her content. The light that shines within her toothless smile ignites a hope that holds off fear awhile. And back again to Italy for some interlocking rhyme Next the Terza Rima Sonnet