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Sonnet Comparison Chart


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The Sonnet
Note:  I include in this chart All traditional and some not so traditional sonnet forms. Most of the sonnet forms on this chart have been established, recognized forms used over centuries or at least decades.  The hundreds of internet "invented sonnet forms" or "gadget sonnets" I do not include here but they can be found on posts within this forum.  I chose not to include them on this chart for space and sanity's sake. I also view them more as traditional forms being tweaked to slightly change an element and the inventor assigning a name to the frame. Unless that same "tweak" is emulated by many others over time, they are really just nonce forms, interesting, but not established sonnet forms.

Name Composition Rhyme & Meter Pivot or Volta
Alfred Dorn sonnet
20th century American
Italian sestet followed by a rhymed couplet and a Sicilian sestet in that order abcabc dd aeaeae, iambic pentameter arrives in the 2nd sestet
Alternating Sonnet alternating quatrains & tercets abba ccd abba ede or ccd abba ede abba
iambic pentameter
L8, L11 or L12.
Arabian Sonnet 
2 quatrains 2 tercets  aaaa bbbb ccc ddd  iambic pentameter 9th line  
Arabian Onegin Sonnet
2 quatrains 2 tercets AaAa BBbb CcC DDd, iambic pentameter 9th line
Asean Sonnet or Asean Royal Flush Sonnet , invented octave followed by sestet mono-rhymed aaaaaaaaaaaaaa
iambic pentameter
Turns in the 9th line.
Balanced Sonnet 2 septets ababcbc dedefdf iambic pentameter invented no pivot prescribed.
Bardic Sonnet,
3 quatrains 1 couplet abab cdcd efef gg interlaced true rhyme
abab cdcd efef gg consonant end rhyme
late in sonnet
Beymorilin Sonnet
20th century Slavic
3 quatrains followed by a couplet abab cdcd efef gg internal rhyme at 2nd or 3rd syllable same as end rhyme iambic pentameter Deep into sonnet, sometime after 2nd quatrain, arrives as a sudden twist
Blank Verse Sonnet 14 lines unrhymed iambic pentameter narrative not lyrical
Blues Sonnet
19th century American
4 blues stanzas followed by a heroic couplet AAa BBb CCc DDd ee, Strangely, iambic pentameter Some say not a true sonnet, no designated pivot
Bowlesian Sonnet
20th century England
3 quatrains followed by heroic couplet abba cddc effe gg Between L9 & L13
Caudate or Tailed Sonnet 16th century Italian 17 to 24 lines, a Petrarchan sonnetfollowed by 1 or more 1/2 lines followed by a heroic couplet abbaabbacdcdcd dee cff fgg giambic pentameter tail line iambic trimeter slowly after L8
Chained Sonnet a quatorzain, using any sonnet form, each line begins with the end word of the previous line Rhyme of selected sonnet form Iambic pentameter Pivot of selected sonnet
Cornish Sonnet
17thcentury England
2 septets made up of 2 tercets followed by a couplet refrain rhyme Abacbc Dedfef AD or abacbC dedfeF CF lines of equal length between L9 -L12
Couplet Sonnet 7 heroic couplets aa bb cc dd ee ff gg iambic pentameter  at the poet's discretion.
Crown of Sonnets 7 Petrarchan Sonnet linked by the last line of proceeding sonnet beginning the next sonnet. L14 of the 7th sonnet is L1 of the 1st sonnet. abbaabbacdecde or cdccdc or cdcdcd
iambic pentameter
rhyme should change from sonnet to sonnet
Unravels slowly between octave and sestet
Curtal Sonnet
England 19th century
Petrarchan sonnet shortened 3/4 proportionately to a sixain followed by a quatrain followed by a half line abcabc defde L1-L10 iambic pentameter, L11 iambic trimeter between sixain and quatrain
Cyhydedd Fer Sonnet 7 couplets 8 syllable linesrhyme aabbccddeeffgg sometime between L5 & L8
Double Sonnet


  • poem of any 2 sonnets.
  • 1 poem of 2 same rhyme sonnets.
  • poem with 2 octaves followed by 2 sestets


Echo Sonnet


3 quatrains followed by a couplet rhymed with double refrain
A1bbA2 accA2 addA2 A1A2
iambic pentameter
Invented revolving sonnet without turn.
Envelope Sonnet 
octave & sestet abbacddc efgefg or efefefiambic pentameter after L8
French Sonnet,
16th century France
Octave followed by sestet abbaabba ccdccd or ccdeed or ccdede
In English iambic pentameter or Alexandrine lines, iambic hexameter
Arrives between L8 and L9
Glorionic Sonnet,
an octave followed by a sestet rhyme aabbbccc ddedee
iambic pentameter
pivot at declamatory couplet.
Heroic Sonnet
18 lines 4 Sicilian quatrains followed by a heroic couplet abab cdcd efef ghgh ii
iambic pentameter
arrives logically late
Illini Sonnet,
a quatorzain iambic
L1,L4,L5,L8,L9 & L12 tetrameter
L2,L3,L6,L7,L10,L11,L13 & L14 pentameter    aabcdbcdecee
pivot arrives after L8, Invented form.
Jeffrey's Sonnet,
2 sestets followed by concluding couplet 8 syllable lines
aabccb ddeffe ge
L7 (b), L13 (e), L14 (g) internal cross rhyme
pivot between sestets, invented form.
Keatsean Sonnet
19th century England
4 tercets followed by a couplet. meter at discretion of poet,
rhyme abc abd cab cde de
pivot between the final tercet and the ending couplet.
Kyrielle Sonnet 
15th Century
3 quatrains followed by a couplet 8 syllables per line AabB ccbB ddbB AB or AbaB cbcB dbdB AB None prescribed. Invented form.
LuVailean Sonnet ,
7 couplets iambic 6 couplets of alternating pentameter and dimeter ending with Heroic Couplet
rhyme ababcdcdefefgg
None suggested, invented form
Mason Sonnet ,
octave followed by sestet rhyme a-b-c-a-b-c-c-b d-b-a-d-d-a
iambic pentameter .
pivot after the octave
Miltonic Sonnet 
17th century England
An unbroken quatorzain by use of enjambment iambic pentameter
slowly after L8
Petrarchan or Italian Sonnet   14th century Italy octave (8 lines) question sestet (6 lines) resolution abbaabba cdecde or cdccdc or cdcdcd iambic pentameter Unravels slowly between octave and sestet
Pushkin Sonnet
19th century Russia
 3 quatrains followed by heroic couplet Frame patterned after the Onegin Stanza
abab ccdd effe gg
iambic tetrameter
 At discretion of poet
Rainis Sonnet
19th century Slavic
9 lines made up of 1 quatrain 1 tercet followed by a couplet abab cbc or cac aa or bb or cciambic tetrameter Arrives in the tercet.
Redondilla / Napoleonic / Sardine, or Sonondilla Sonnet 20th century A quatorzain made up of 2 redondilla quatrains followed by Envelope sestet. abbacddceeffee
8 syllable lines or iambic or trochaic tetrameter
no pivot prescibed. Invented form.
Saraband Sonnet 2 septets axabbcc axabbcc or abacdcd abacdcd orabacddc abacddc or abacdcd abacdcd or linking rhyme can be unrhymed
octasyllabic or trochaic or iambic tetrameter or pentameter
pivot when natural.
Scupham Sonnet 
20th century England
2 sixains followed by heroic couplet abccba abccba dd
iambic pentameter
invented form, no pivot prescibed.
Shadow Sonnet
21st century
a quatorzain using any sonnet frame   rhyme and meter consistent with the selected sonnet form
added feature of the beginning word of each line is repeated as the end word of that same line
consistent the selected form
Shakespearean/English / Elizabethan Sonnet
late 16th / 17th century
3 quatrains progression leaps to a surprising 1 couplet resolution abab cdcd efef gg iambic pentameter Deep into sonnet, sometime after 2nd quatrain, arrives as a sudden twist
Sicilian Sonnet
13th century Italy
octave (8 lines) question sestet (6 lines) resolution abababab cdcdcd
iambic pentameter
Unravels slowly between the octave and sestet
Signature Sonnet,
3 quintains aabba bbaab ababa    
Song That Luc Bat Sonnet
recent invented form
3 Song That Luc Batquatrains followed byrhymed couplet rhymed with Luc Bat climbing rhyme
syllabic, quatrains 7-7-6-8couplet 7-7
Pivot arrives naturally.
Spanish Soneta
16th century
2 Petrarchan quatrains followed by a Sicilian sestet hendecasyllabic lines rhyme abba abba cdcdcd pivot develops logically after 2nd quatrain
Spenserian Sonnet
mid 16th century England
3 quatrains each develop metaphor, conflict, question or answer
1 declamatory couplet
abab bcbc cdcd ee iambic pentameter Slowly and logically, sometime after the 2nd quatrain
Stretched Sonnet   Any poem that stretches the boundaries of frame or meter of a traditional sonnet but has the sound and feel of the sonnet.  
Terza Rima or Diaspora Sonnet 19th centuryEngland 4 tercets followed by1 heroic couplet aba bcb cdc ded ff
iambic pentameter
Logically, sometime after the 3rd tercet.
Tet Zayin,
4 quatrains Aabb bbcc ccdd ddaA, syllabic, S1 11 syllables, S2 9 syllables, S3 9 syllables, S4 11 syllables    
Unrhymed Sonnet
17th Century England
a quatorzain broken or unbroken atthe poet's discretion unrhymedaccentual verse -5 stresses per line naturally
Wordsworth Sonnet
19th century England
a quatorzain
a Catalogue poem of sorts
abbaacca dedeff iambic pentameter arrives in last line.
Wyatt/Surrey Sonnet
16th century England
1 Petrarchan octave,
1 envelope quatrain
1 declamatory heroic couplet
abbaabba cddc ee
iambic pentameter
Unravels slowly after from octave to quatrain

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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