Monday, May 31, 2010


    I love sonnets, they're simple but they can also be very beautiful. Take William Shakespeare for example, his sonnets are elegant and romantic because the actual words speak for themselves instead of a bunch of fancy formatting. A sonnet is a form of poetry that consists of fourteen lines and are characterized by a 'turn' at a certain point. If you look at William Shakespeare's sonnet below, you'll notice that it has all of the common characteristics of a sonnet:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (aka) Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Now read the poem below and, using the information above, let me know if you can analyze it.

Sonnet by Billy Collins
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,

and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blowout the lights, and come at last to bed.


Zack said...

You chose two very good sonnets! I especially like Billy Collins' Sonnet, how it is a meta-poem that reference the history of the sonnet. (Granted, Billy Collins is my favorite living poet, but still.)