Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sonnet, Later



A poem composed of 14 lines.
[Reads dictionary explanation, yawns: not fully attentive]
The English convention is 10 syllables for each of these, and a choice of styles: Petrarchan, Shakespearian or Miltonic being our main three. They differ in rhyme scheme and pacings of octaves (first eight lines) and sestets (last six lines, aka sextets.) And it should be Iambic (the rhythm that runs soft LOUD soft LOUD.)
[Nods head absentmindedly: facts are read with some recall, except:]
'Why these particular numbers?'
[Scratches head to denote thought]
They are pleasantly even
They fit musical forms (sonnet from the Italian, 'little song')
They are long enough to set up and answer a question or two, not so long the reader loses track/interest
Long enough to play with form and make different styles from one format: a sort of literary franchise?
It proved popular, so writers kept at it
The Shakespearian form breaks mostly into 3 quatrains (4 line stanzas) followed by 1 couplet (2 lines). The first 3 quatrains set up a surprise in the final two lines.
[Considers writing in this format. Pictures how the current pile of projects is stacking up]
'UnwielDY? Is that Iambic?'
[Sighs. Eats a sandwich]



5 comments:

  1. Great pic, btw. (Of you, not Will. Though he's nice, too.)

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  2. Iambic pentameter was the only thing I could get when I studied English Lit hundreds of years ago. The sonnets confused me back then, but then I was an arrogant youth who was so uncouth. Now that I'm wiser (ha!) I ought to read a sonnet or two and see if a lightbulb will go off over my head. :-)
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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  3. Thanks Suze, it is a nice picture of a fairly contented weariness (me, not WS, he has a faraway thoughtful pose.) Sine wave is a good analogy- although just to be awkward I practice 'original style' TKD which doesn't explicitly teach sine wave: there's a natural drop and fall in a lot of techniques though. Overall the power and the flow of any good martial art is worth replicating in print :-) One day if I'm travelling your way then I'll teach you some of mine- that would be splendid fun :-)

    Su-sieee! I fell in love with sonnets as an arrogant youth but the romance was more important than the discipline to me then. Now I marvel at the command of language just as much as I sigh- I love dear old Shakespeare but actually Wordsworth is still favourite in the sonnet stakes. Worth a try :-)

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  4. I almost don't know what you are talking about. Yes, I know sonnets, but not much about their construction. I remember Iambic pentameter from school, but that's about it.

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