Writers' Ink at Caledon Public Library

Writing a Shakespearean Sonnet

The two poems (Alack Alack Alas and Not a Valentine’s Sonnet) recently posted are in a form known as Shakespearean Sonnet. Here is Alton Writers’ Ink member and sonnet lover Judy Zarowny’s description of how these are created.

Structure:

The poem has fourteen lines, divided into three quatrains (stanzas) of four lines each followed by a concluding couplet of two lines –

Quatrain (stanza) one introduces the topic, or thought to be explored

Quatrain two develops the topic

Quatrain three further develops the topic

The couplet sums things up.

Rhythm:

The rhythm in each line is comprised of 5 beats, called iambic pentameter.

So it basically goes like this –  ta DUM  ta DUM  ta DUM  ta DUM  ta DUM

Eg. the first line from Shakespeare’s sonnet 18, shows us the way,

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day

The bolded parts in the line shows us where the down beat falls; in other words they are the ‘DUM’s’ in the ‘ta DUM’s’.

Rhyme scheme:

Considering the sound of the word at the end of each line,

the rhyme scheme of quatrain one is –  abab

quatrain two is – cdcd

quatrain three is – efef

the couplet – gg

About Alton Chapter

The Alton Chapter of Writers' Ink meets the 1st Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Alton Branch.

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2017 by in Alton Chapter, Writing Advice and tagged , , .

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