Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

Quick Sonnet


Recommended Posts

I just had some fun at another site participating in a challenge I found there. So I will share it here. Maybe someone else will find it fun.

The Challenge is to write a sonnet in 20 minutes. Any variation is acceptable.

The challenge came from a comment that no one can write a sonnet in 15 minutes anymore. (Apparently, the masters of old had no trouble doing that.) So the person making the challenge, responded to the comment by trying to write a sonnet in 15 minutes and it took him 20. Therefore his challenge added the extra 5 minutes to be fair to the others.

The rules of the challenge are:

  • write a sonnet in 20 minutes or less.
  • Once you pick up the mantle, you must post whatever you wrote in the 20 minutes even if you only got to line 9. Some people posted complete sonnets and admitted it took them 23 or 36 minutes to write, others posted only 5 lines or 7 lines.
  • You cannot think up a rhyme scheme or subject before you start writing. The subject, meter, and rhyme must come on the fly.
  • Have fun with it, I have to admit I was laughing out loud at myself while I wrote mine.

    Here it is:

    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.

    18 minutes 15 seconds But Oh my God! (admittedly I fixed some punctuation as I posted it... so I probably used my whole 20 minutes after all. ) ~~Tinker

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How exciting that you pulled this off so well, so fast! I will try this sometime, though probably not today. I admit, I'm afraid. It usually takes me many hours to write one of these and have it come out anywhere near this good.


I think I recall reading somewhere that this is how Keats composed his "Grasshopper and Cricket" sonnet. He and some others were sitting around a fire one night and they decided to each compose a sonnet in 10 or 20 minutes. When they were finished, Keats had "Grasshopper and Cricket" and the other poet had something else I don't remember, and each insisted that the other's poem was better than his own. icon_lol.gif


I also remember reading somewhere that often when James Wright was together with his contemporaries (Bly, Hall, and Simpson, I think) they made a kind of game where they spoke by volleying back and forth to one another in iambic pentameter. So yes, in light of the Keats poem, this and other exercises can even yield world class poems.


Sometime, when my head is clear, and I feel brave enough, I will try this. Thanks for sharing the exercise and the poem.


Tony icon_smile.gif

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too normally take hours to write a sonnet but writing on the fly like this, is actually fun. You don't have time to take yourself seriously. You hit go and you write whatever comes in your mind. Maybe I have one advantage in that I am familiar with the form from my research. I didn't have to look up the rhyme scheme, I know the frame. All I had to do was execute it.


But come on lines like these:


a wonder I’ve not fallen to my knees

can’t even give the time it takes to sneeze


??? where did these lines come from, I just knew I had to rhyme 2 lines with ease. If someday I decided to go back and try and make something of this, these are the 2 lines that would probably come into question first.


But the bottom line is, this poem is not going anywhere but a challenge thread, but it made me laugh at myself. One of my favorite pasttimes. And if it gives you or anyone else who happens upon it a smile, then I get a double bonus.



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful! I smiled (and that a full smile) and there's your bonus! icon_cheers.png


This is really exciting. I am not very good with form poetry but I guess I will build up my courage and try this one out in a few days! Yours was lovely Tink! icon_biggrin.png


Hey tony this talking in iambic pentameter is a good one! I will try that one around that would be fun too!


Thank ye good people!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.