PREFACE

What more can be said of the sonnet? If I were to consider the poetic forms as royalty,
I would say the sonnet is king.  Master the sonnet, and you rule the other forms. It is a form
that originated in Europe, mainly Italy, created by the poet of the early 13th century,
Giacomo da Lentini. Born between 1195 and 1205 A.D.

(Encyclopedia Britannica: Giacomo Da Lentini,  was born between 1195 and 1205 and his
death date or place of death is unknown, also called Jacopo Da Lentini, senior poet of the
Sicilian school and notary at the court of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick II
(Dec 26, 1194 – Dec 13, 1250).  Celebrated during his life, he was acclaimed as a master
by the poets of the following generation, including Dante (c 1265–1321), who memorialized
him in the
Purgatorio).

Giacomo is traditionally credited with the invention of the sonnet, and his works in that form
remain the earliest known. He adapted the themes, style, and language of Provençal poetry
to Italian, infusing it with his own aristocratic and exclusive tastes. All his extant poetry—
some 40 lyrics, including sonnets, canzoni, tenzoni (poetic debates), and one discordo
(poetic disagreement)—concerns the theme of love, which, in the courtly tradition, is seen in
feudal terms as the service of the lover to his lady. None of his poetry survives in the
original Sicilian dialect but has, rather, been modified to conform to Tuscan. )

1) Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304-July 19, 1374 ) did the same in Italy, and

2) Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza (August 19, 1398 – March 25, 1458 was a Castilian politician
and poet who held an important position in society and literature during the reign of John II
of Castile) introduced it to Spain.

3) William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564-April 23, 1616) made it popular in England.

4) Sir Edmund Spenser (Edmund Spenser 1552 – 13 January 1599 English poet best
known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory) creates his
own sonnet form.

*****************************

A little curiosity here is the time period each poet lived:


Da Lentini:        1200's
Petrarca:           1300's
Lopez:               1400's
Shakespeare    1500's
Spenser            1500's

Although
Giacomo Da Lentini invented the sonnet, it was not until 100 years later that the
now recognized Italian sonnet became the established sonnet to emulate.  
Francesco
Petrarca
makes his rhyme scheme the most popular form of the sonnet in Italy.

Then
Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, in Spain, 100 years after Francesco Petrarca, takes the
Italian sonnet, breaks it up into two separate quatrains followed by two tercets and that
becomes the sonnet form of Spain.

Move forward another 100 years after
Petrarca, and William Shakespeare makes the
English sonnet popular, and
Sir Edmund Spenser creates his own sonnet.

Giacomo Da Lentini basically disappears from the history of the sonnet.

These four sonnet forms have survived to this present day, and have probably been used
by more poets than any other form.


******************************

Sonnet by definition:

1) The sonnet is fourteen lines long.
2)  The meter is iambic pentameter.
3)  The sonnet has a well defined pattern
to the rhyme scheme which clearly identifies the form.

WHAT IS A SONNET REMIX?

It is a term I use, borrowed from the music industry, where an alternative version of a recorded song is
made from an original version. It is basically the adoption, alteration, and/or recombination of existing
art forms, like music, literature, paintings, etc., and here I include poetry, to create something new.
Maybe, even take something old and modernize it; or at least, make it more appealing and interesting,
as well as add some variety to the form.

However, before we can get to the remixing of this form, we must first define and learn the four main
sonnet forms, and go from there. We must also take a look at the stanzaic forms, because, as it turns
out, the sonnet is really a derivative of the many different stanzas that exist, in one combination or
another. We will also look at meter. After we do so, we will go about the task of modernizing this
majestic of all poetic forms.

THE FOUR (FIVE) MAJOR SONNETS DEFINED

The rhyme scheme for each of the four major sonnets is outlined below. Whenever you see one of
these rhyme schemes, you should be able to tell which sonnet form it is. I leave it to the poet to
research and find examples of each.  Giacomo Da Lentini's sonnet will appear first.

__________________________
Da Lentini Sonnet
a-b-a-b-a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-c-d

This is the grandfather of all sonnets, the sonnet that started it all!
_______________________

English (Shakespearean) sonnet:
a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g

Spenserian sonnet:
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-c-d-e-e

Italian (Petrarchan) sonnet:
a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a-c-d-e-c-d-e

Spanish sonnet:
a-b-b-a  a-b-b-a  c-d-c  d-c-d

Note: the Spanish sonnet uses two separate quatrains followed by two separate tercets.  However, it
still meets the three criteria for a sonnet. When written in Spanish, it may utilize eleven or even twelve
syllables per line. This is because in Spanish two syllables may be sounded as one syllable in the
normal course of speech, making it still sound like iambic pentameter.  Many English poets have written
in the Spanish sonnet format.

With these examples, which I call the Strict Sonnets, we will be able to create other sonnet forms.  We
only need to look at two other aspects of poetry, and that is the stanzaic forms and meter. Also, for
future reference I will list the different feet used and the stressing involved with each foot. After we
explore each aspect of the sonnet, we will put it all together at the end.

THE STANZAIC FORMS

The stanzaic forms are the building blocks of all rhyming poetry. Even the four major Strict Sonnets are
made up of two or more stanzaic forms, as I mentioned before, and you can sequence any number of
stanzas, but we are going to adhere, for now, to the three criteria based on the definition of a sonnet.

LIST OF STANZAIC FORMS

1)   Couplet (Distich, two lines)
2)   Tercet (triplet, three lines)
3)   Quatrain (four lines)
4)   Quintet (five lines)
5)   Sestet (Hexastich) (six lines)
6)   Septet (seven lines)
7)   Octave (eight lines)
8)   Nine-line (Spenserian stanza)
9)   Decastich (ten lines)
10)  Eleven-line
11)  Duodecet (12 lines)
12)  Thirteen-line
13)  Double-septet (the 14 lines of a sonnet)

Now, things are starting to shape up. The list can go on and on, but since we are going to adhere to
the definition of a sonnet, no more stanzaic forms are required. We may not even need to use all of
these stanzaic forms, but you’re welcome to experiment on your own, once we throw in meter.

METER

Poetic lines, otherwise known as verses, are classified according to the number of feet in a line. One
foot is comprised of two or three syllables, depending on the name of the foot. See the following table:

















             (u=unstressed; s=stressed)

If we use the Iambus as an example, a verse containing only a single foot is monometer, and the
combination would be called, iambic monometer. See below for a list of the meters we will be
concerned with:

1)        Monometer
2)        Dimeter
3)        Trimeter
4)        Tetrameter
5)        Pentameter
6)        Hexameter
7)        Heptameter
8)        Octameter

The number of feet in a line of English verse rarely exceeds eight; but it is possible for verses to
contain more. I would not use more than eight because eight is pretty much the maximum number of
feet that can easily fit across the page. The best known and most used foot in English verse is the
iambus, used in conjunction with the pentameter meter, as in iambic pentameter.

LET THE REMIXING BEGIN

We now have enough knowledge of the form to create as many different sonnets as we can imagine.
To the main four Strict Sonnets we are going to add at least ten more sonnets. We’ll add still more later
on, but let’s begin with the couplet.

THE COUPLET

The couplet, or distich, is the simplest of all stanzas, and contains two rhyming lines. Usually, the
couplet is used for epigrams, for example:

 When I am dead, I hope it may be said,
 His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.
                                                  —Hilaire Belloc

If we use seven couplets together, you have, what I call, a Couplet Sonnet. The couplet sonnet rhyme
scheme would, of course, be as follows:

Couplet Sonnet
a-a-b-b-c-c-d-d-e-e-f-f-g-g

Look familiar? It should. It is the rhyme scheme to the English sonnet if you alternate the letters
instead. So, the Shakespearean sonnet and this couplet sonnet are related.

THE TERCET

Now, let’s follow the previous train of thought by next looking at the tercet. The tercet, or triplet, is three
lines, and can be expressed as follows:

a-a-a  or  a-a-b  or  a-b-b  or  a-b-a

Usually the tercet uses a-a-a as the rhyme scheme, so I will use this rhyme scheme to create, if you
follow me so far, the Tercet Sonnet  in this manner:

Tercet Sonnet
a-a-a-b-b-b-c-c-c-d-d-d-e-e

That’s four tercets followed by, you guessed it, a couplet. Now the building blocks are starting to fall
into place. Variations of the tercet sonnet can be:

a-a-b-c-c-d-e-e-f-g-g-h-i-i                or
a-a-b-c-c-b-e-e-b-g-g-b-i-i               or

a-b-b-c-d-d-e-f-f-g-h-h-i-i                or
a-b-b-a-c-c-a-d-d-a-e-e-f-f              or

a-b-a-c-d-c-e-f-e-g-h-g-i-i                or
a-b-a-c-b-c-d-b-d-e-b-e-f-f

So far, we have added the Couplet Sonnet, the Tercet Sonnet, and six variations of the Tercet Sonnet
to the major four Strict Sonnets. Now, let’s take a look at the quatrain.

THE QUATRAIN

By now I’m sure you’ve figured out I’m going to create the Quatrain Sonnet. William Shakespeare’s and
Sir Edmund Spenser’s sonnets can be considered quatrain sonnets because they can be divided into
three quatrains followed by a couplet. The same can be said for the Italian and Spanish sonnets with
two quatrains followed by two tercets. You can also say they are octaves followed by sestets.

Now, let’s create a new quatrain sonnet.  Since Shakespeare used the a-b-a-b quatrain and Petrarch
used the a-b-b-a quatrain, I want to create a similar sonnet that is different. I’m going to basically
merge the two, and so as to visually see the process, I will place the English and Italian sonnets directly
below the quatrain sonnet so you can see the similarities and differences.

Quatrain Sonnet
a-b-b-a-c-d-d-c-e-f-f-e-g-g
a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a-c-d-e-c-d-e (Italian)
a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g (English)

Of course, there are numerous variations of sonnets that can be made from the quatrain stanza.

THE QUINTET

Possible arrangements of the five-line stanza are even more numerous than for any of the stanzas
previously mentioned. Usually, this stanza is a varied combination of couplets and triplets, and in many
cases, quatrains with a single unrhymed line included, such as a-b-a-b-c or a-b-b-a-c, etc. You can
also use the two to three rhyming method and get variations like a-a-b-b-b or a-b-b-a-a or
a-b-b-b-a, etc. Sonnets can be made from any one of these in combination. Put two such quintets
together, add a couple of couplets or a quatrain at the end, and you have yourself a quintet sonnet.
So, let’s create a standard, strict quintet sonnet. There are three basic ones, for example:


Quintet Sonnet
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-f-f-e                or
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-e-f-f                or
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-f-e-f

From these three, many more can be created, such as

a-b-a-b-c-d-e-d-e-c-f-g-f-g

etc. Experiment.

THE SESTET

The building blocks of sonnets are stacking up and many more variations can be created. This six-line
stanza has various combinations of the couplet, triplet, and quatrain. A couplet and a quatrain can
form a sestet. Three couplets can form a sestet. Two triplets can form a sestet. If you take a look at a
Petrarchan sonnet, you’ll notice it closes with a sestet, usually with the rhyme scheme, a-b-c-a-b-c.  
There are so many combinations. This stanza also makes it easy to create a sestet sonnet, because
by simply putting two sestets together and adding a couplet you have a sonnet.

Some six-line sestets can be:

a-a-b-b-c-c        or        a-b-b-a-c-c        or
a-a-b-c-c-b        or        a-a-a-b-b-b

There are many more, but this is the one I prefer for my Sestet Sonnet.

Sestet Sonnet
a-b-c-a-b-c-d-e-f-d-e-f-g-g

I always look to create a sonnet that gives me the most varied rhymes. Using a rhyme scheme that has
too few rhymes, like a-a-a-b-b-b-a-a-a-b-b-b-c-c is too limiting, but it is entirely up to the poet which
rhyme scheme to choose.

THE SEPTET

The Rime Royal, or Rhyme Royal stanza consists of seven lines, usually in iambic pentameter. The
rhyme scheme a-b-a-b-b-c-c was the standard narrative meter in the middle ages, and was introduced
into English by Geoffrey Chaucer.  Sir Edmund Spenser as well as Shakespeare used the form. This
seven-line stanza makes creating a sonnet from it very easy. Simply put two rhyme royal stanzas
together and you get:

Septet Sonnet (or Rhyme Royal Sonnet)
a-b-a-b-b-c-c-d-e-d-e-e-f-f

This is the basic septet sonnet and you can create other sonnets from the myriad of variations
available from this form.

THE OCTAVE

The three basic building blocks of rhyming verse keep showing up, the couplet, triplet, and quatrain.
What we discussed about the Quatrain Sonnet pretty much applies here. This eight-line stanza with its
great number of combinations has been used by some poet at one time or another. The four major
sonnets are related to this stanza, especially the Petrarchan sonnet with its detached octave and
rhyme scheme of a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a. So, any quatrain sonnet you create can also be considered an
octave sonnet and the same examples of the quatrain sonnet apply here.

NINE-LINE STANZA

The nine-line stanza (from New Rhyming Dictionary and Poets’ Handbook by Burges Johnson) has so
many possibilities. The most noted form is that used by Spenser. Its rhyme scheme is: a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-
c and is exacting and usually written in iambic pentameter lines. The last line of the stanza contains
twelve syllables and is called the Alexandrine, and ends the stanza with a finish that is rich and
distinctive. The Spenserian stanza has been used in many noted English poems.  Now, if we add a
triplet and an ending couplet, you have the following:

Nine-Line Stanza Sonnet
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-d-d-e-e
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-c-d-e-e (Spenserian sonnet)

Here I used the Spenserian form to create the sonnet, but you can use any variation of the nine-line
stanza you want. Here, you can put your creativity to work. If you notice, there is only a one letter
difference between the two sonnets. However, if you vary the rhyme scheme in the nine-line portion,
you can create a sonnet totally different from these two sonnets.

From here on we don’t need to discuss the other stanzaic forms (Decastich, eleven-line, Duodecet,
thirteen-line, and fourteen-line). They would simply be an exercise to practice your ingenuity. Anything
you can come up with for these stanzaic forms you probably will have already discovered in the
previous stanzaic forms. It’s all about the combinations of couplets, triplets, and quatrains.

NOTE: We’ve remixed the four main sonnets, and we will know proceed to add more. Let’s make a list
of the ones we have so far.

SONNETS LISTS UPDATE

English (Shakespearean) Sonnet
a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g

Spenserian Sonnet
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-c-d-e-e

Italian (Petrarchan)
a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a-c-d-e-c-d-e

Spanish Sonnet
a-b-b-a  a-b-b-a  c-d-c  d-c-d

Couplet Sonnet
a-a-b-b-c-c-d-d-e-e-f-f-g-g

Tercet Sonnet
a-a-a-b-b-b-c-c-c-d-d-d-e-e (main variation)

Quatrain Sonnet
a-b-b-a-c-d-d-c-e-f-f-e-g-g (main variation)

Quintet Sonnet
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-f-f-e (variation I)
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-e-f-f (variation II)
a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-f-e-f (variation III)

Sestet Sonnet
a-b-c-a-b-c-d-e-f-d-e-f-g-g

Septet Sonnet (Rhyme Royal Sonnet)
a-b-a-b-b-c-c-d-e-d-e-e-f-f (main variation)

Nine-line (Spenserian Stanza) Sonnet
a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-d-d-e-e (main variation)

That’s thirteen sonnets (without all of the variations).


OTHER TYPES OF SONNETS

Occitan sonnet

The sole confirmed surviving sonnet in the Occitan language is confidently dated to 1284, and is
conserved only in troubadour manuscript P, an Italian chansonnier of 1310, now XLI.42 in the
Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence.  It was written by Paolo Lanfranchi da Pistoia and is addressed to
Peter III of Aragon. It employs the rhyme scheme a-b-a-b, a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d-c-d. This should look
familiar:

Occitan Sonnet
a-b-a-b a-b-a-b c-d-c-d-c-d
a-b-b-a a-b-b-a c-d-c d-c-d (Spanish Sonnet)

In the course of creating your sonnets, you may have constructed an Occitan Sonnet using the
couplets, triplets, quatrains, and sestets we’ve talked about.  Here we have two quatrains and a sestet.

_______________________________
Sonnet Timeline

With the Occitan sonnet added to the mix, a pattern emerges.  Let's use the chart below to
look at this pattern.

1) Lentini   2) Pistoia    3) Petrarca    4) Lopez    5) W.S.   6) Spenser

















1) Firstly, Giacomo da Lentini creates the sonnet with the rhyme scheme presented.

2) Secondly, Paolo Lanfranchi da Pistoia takes Lentini's sonnet, intentionally or
unintentionally, and writes the sonnet in the Occitan language, using the same rhyme
scheme but splitting up the sonnet into three stanzas as seen above. So, the Occitan
sonnet is just Lentini's sonnet revisited.  Most of the time, he used Lentini's format.

3) Thirdly, Francesco Petrarca takes  Lentini's sonnet and alters it to the form you see
above, maintaining the one-stanza format.

4) Fourthly, Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza takes Petrarca's sonnet, using the same rhyme
scheme in the octet, but uses the same rhyme scheme in the sestet that Lentini used.
Furthermore, he splits Lentini"s sonnet into four parts: Two separate quatrains and
two separate tercets, giving it a unique presentation.

5) Fifthly, William Shakespeare takes Petrarca's sonnet and alters it even further converting
it to the most recognized sonnet in the world.

6) Lastly, Sir Edmund Spenser takes the sonnet and alters it to the rhyme scheme you see
above.  He gives it an interweaving rhyme scheme which rhymes the first and third lines
of the second stanza with the last line of the first stanza, rhymes the first and third lines of
the third stanza with the last line of the second stanza, and ends it with a couplet.
_______________________________

Puerto Rican Sonnet

This is a sonnet of my own creation. There exists in Puerto Rico a song form called Décima.
It consists of four ten-line stanzas with a tetrameter meter and the first stanza sets the rule.
The rule is the last line of the first stanza must be repeated verbatim as the last line of each
subsequent stanza.  So, using capital C to mean the repeated line, the four stanzas could be
as follows:

1st line:        a-b-b-a-a-c-c-d-d-C
2nd line:       e-f-f-e-e-c-c-g-g-C
3rd line:        h-i-i-h-h-c-c-j-j-C
4th line:        k-l-l-k-k-c-c-m-m-C

It is a challenging song to write, and singers usually challenge each other to a competition
where the first singer sets the theme, making up a song on the spot, and the person
challenged must respond, and make up a song to refute the challenger.  The winner is
determined by the audience, and the singer who gets applauded the loudest wins.

NOTE: If I use pentameter lines in the Décima, and follow the rhyme scheme I have
outlined above for the four stanzas, I believe I have also created a new Décima Form of
verse in the English language.

So, I took the rhyme scheme of the first stanza and created a sonnet of my own.  Firstly, I
converted the meter from tetrameter to pentameter, to meet one of the three criteria of a
sonnet. Secondly, I extended the ten-line stanza to fourteen lines and gave it a logical
rhyme scheme based on the Décima’s own rhyme scheme, and I came up with the
following sonnet:

Puerto Rican Sonnet
a-b-b-a-a-c-c-d-d-c-c-e-e-c



We now have fifteen sonnet forms to work with.

1)    English sonnet
2)    Italian sonnet
3)    Spenserian sonnet
4)    Spanish sonnet
5)    Couplet sonnet
6)    Tercet sonnet
7)    Quatrain sonnet (main variation)
8)    Quintet sonnet (variation I)
9)    Quintet sonnet (variation II)
10)  Quintet sonnet (variation III)
11)  Sestet sonnet
12)  Septet (Rhyme Royal) sonnet
13)  Nine-line sonnet
14)  Occitan sonnet
15)  Puerto Rican sonnet.

INVERTED SONNET

Want to create more sonnets?  Take any sonnet that ends in a couplet and write a couplet for the first
two lines of the poem, then finish the poem by using the rest of the sonnet form.  For example,

a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g (English)
a-a-b-c-b-c-d-e-d-e-f-g-f-g (Inverted English)

LET THE REMIXING CONTINUE!

Of the three criteria for a sonnet, two are essential: fourteen lines and rhyme scheme.  These two
aspects of the sonnet are what really give it its name.  So, what about the meter?  Remember that list
of meters?  I gave you eight.  They are the eight tracks, in a manner of speaking, of the sonnet
remixing process we are going to use.  So, now we have a more modern definition of the sonnet.

MODERN DEFINITION OF A SONNET

1) Fourteen lines
2) A strict rhyme scheme defining each sonnet
3) Usually in iambic meter but not required and line lengths need not be uniform

Since we are already aware of the sonnets written in iambic pentameter, with use of the other meters,
we have just added 7 more sonnet forms to each of the 15 we already have.  For example, the English
sonnet can now be written from iambic monometer to iambic octameter.  The same goes for the Italian
(Petrarchan) sonnet, and so on.  The new forms written strictly in iambic meter of lines of equal lengths
I consider to be the strict sonnet form.

NOMENCLATURE

The naming of each sonnet form would be quite simple.  The iambic pentameter forms would go by
their regular names and the rest would go by the new naming process below.  Let’s use the English
sonnet as an example, assuming they are all iambic:

STANZAIC NOMENCLATURE

1)        English Monometer Sonnet
2)        English Dimeter Sonnet
3)        English Trimeter Sonnet
4)        English Tetrameter Sonnet
5)        English Sonnet (standard pentameter sonnet)
6)        English Hexameter Sonnet
7)        English Heptameter Sonnet
8)        English Octameter Sonnet

You can use “Shakespearean” in place of “English.”

GROUPS OF SONNETS (for information only)

CROWN OF SONNETS

A crown of sonnets or sonnet corona is a sequence of sonnets, usually addressed to one person,
and/or concerned with a single theme. Each of the sonnets explores one aspect of the theme, and is
linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as
its first line. The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet, thereby
bringing the sequence to a close.

SONNET CYCLE

A sonnet cycle is a group of sonnets arranged to address a particular person or theme, and designed
to be read both as a collection of fully realized individual poems and as a single poetic work comprising
all the individual sonnets.  A sonnet cycle may have any theme, but unrequited love is the most
common. The arrangement of the sonnets generally reflects thematic concerns, with chronological
arrangements (whether linear, like a progression, or cyclical, like the seasons) being the most
common. A sonnet cycle may also have allegorical or argumentative structures which replace or
complement chronology.  While the thematic arrangement may reflect the unfolding of real or fictional
events, the sonnet cycle is very rarely narrative; the narrative elements may be inferred, but provide
background structure, and are never the primary concern of the poet's art.

SONNET SEQUENCE

Sonnet sequence is a group of sonnets thematically unified to create a long work, although generally,
unlike the stanza, each sonnet so connected can also be read as a meaningful separate unit.  The
sonnet sequence was a very popular genre during the Renaissance, following the pattern of Petrarch.  
Sonnet sequences are typically closely based on Petrarch, either closely emulating his example or
working against it. The subject is usually the speaker's unhappy love for a distant beloved, following
the courtly love tradition of the troubadours from whom the genre ultimately derived. An exception is
Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti, where the wooing is successful, and the sequence ends with an
Epithalamion, a marriage song.

HEROIC CROWN

An advanced form of crown of sonnets is also called a sonnet redoublé or heroic crown, comprising
fifteen sonnets, in which the sonnets are linked as described above, but the final binding sonnet is
made up of all the first lines of the preceding fourteen, in order.

FOURTEENER

A line consisting of 14 syllables, usually having seven iambic heptametric feet, most commonly found in
English poetry produced in the 16th and 17th centuries, also a quatorzain.
QUATORZAIN (from French quatorze, fourteen)

A poem of fourteen lines. Historically the term has often been used interchangeably with the term
sonnet. Various writers have tried to draw distinctions between 'true' sonnets, and quatorzains.  
Nowadays the term is seldom used, and when it is, it usually is used to distinguish fourteen line poems
that do not follow the various rules that describe the sonnet.

DANTE’S VARIATION

Most Sonnets in Dante's La Vita Nuova are Petrarchan, but some are not. Chapter VII gives sonnet O
voi che per la via, with two sestets (AABAAB AABAAB) and two quatrains (CDDC CDDC), and Ch. VIII,
Morte villana, with two sestets (AABBBA AABBBA) and two quatrains (CDDC CDDC)
.
If we adhere to the strict definition of a sonnet, we need to make an adjustment to Dante’s Variation
Sonnet.  The task is simple. Using Dante’s sestets, we can create two separate 14-line versions of this
sonnet form by adding a couplet to the two sestets as follows:

Dante’s Sonnet
a-a-b-a-a-b-a-a-b-a-a-b-c-c                or
a-a-b-b-b-a-a-a-b-b-b-a-c-c

CAUDATE SONNET

A caudate is an expanded version of the sonnet. It consists of 14 lines in standard sonnet forms
followed by a coda (Latin cauda meaning "tail", from which the name is derived).  The invention of the
form is credited to Francesco Berni. According to the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry, the form is
most frequently used for satire, such as the most prominent English instance, John Milton's "On the
New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament."  An example could be:

a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g h-i-h-i

Here, you have an English sonnet plus a quatrain.

Use the couplet, tercet, quatrain, etc., to create other caudate sonnets

CURTAL SONNET

is a curtailed or contracted sonnet. It refers specifically to a sonnet of 10-1/2 lines rhyming

abcabc dcbdc         or
abcabc dbcdc

with the last line a tail, or half a line. The term was used by Gerard Manley Hopkins to describe the
form that he used in such poems as “Pied Beauty” and “Peace.” Curtal is now an obsolete word
meaning “shortened.” (from Encyclopedia Britannica).  Since I want to adhere to the fourteen line
versions of the sonnet, as per the definition, this form is presented for information only.  I don’t
consider it a true sonnet.

PUSHKIN SONNET

or Onegin stanza refers to the verse form popularized (or invented) by the Russian poet Alexander
Pushkin through his novel in verse Eugene Onegin. The work was mostly written in verses of iambic
tetrameter with the rhyme scheme:

aBaBccDDeFFeGG

where the lowercase letters represent feminine endings (i.e., with an additional unstressed syllable)
and the uppercase representing masculine ending (i.e. stressed on the final syllable).
Unlike other traditional forms, such as the Petrarchan sonnet or Shakespearean sonnet, the Onegin
stanza does not divide into smaller stanzas of four lines or two in an obvious way. There are many
different ways the sonnet can be divided: for example, the first four lines can form a quatrain, or
instead join with the "cc" to form a set. The form's flexibility allows the author more scope to change
how the semantic sections are divided from sonnet to sonnet, while keeping the sense of unity
provided by following a fixed rhyme scheme. Also, being written in iambic tetrameter imparts a stronger
sense of motion than other sonnets, which use the more common iambic pentameter.  Although this
may be the case, I still want to adhere to the definition of a sonnet, and the Pushkin Sonnet in iambic
pentameter I would consider as the Strict Pushkin sonnet.

NOTE: After coming up with this nomenclature, I did a little research, starting with the English
Monometer Sonnet and looked up one word sonnets.  What is a word sonnet? It is a new variation of
the traditional form, fourteen lines long, but with only one word set for each verse. Concise and usually
visual in effect, this miniature version can contain one or more sentences, as the articulation requires.

The earliest word sonnet seems to have seen the light of print over twenty-five years ago. In 1985, the
American poet Brad Leithauser introduced a monosyllabic ironic poem entitled "Post-Coitum Tristesse"
that was later included in a volume of his work and the anthology of New Formalist poetry,
Rebel
Angels
. One of a kind, Leithauser's word sonnets perhaps set a precedent for others to follow.

THE MODERN SONNET
We now have over forty sonnet forms at our disposal, but how do we modernize them?  The answer is
so simple that I can’t really say I discovered it.  Somebody else must have.  All you need to do is to
dispense with the line length while keeping the fourteen lines and rhyme scheme of the different
sonnets intact.  Take all of the strict forms (the old forms as well as the new ones created here) and
vary the line lengths.  Write one of each, and you’ll end up with enough poems for a book of poetry of
your own.

LIST OF SONNETS
1)  English a-b-a-b-c-d-c-d-e-f-e-f-g-g













2 )  Spenserian      a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-c-d-e-e
3)   Italian               a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a-c-d-e-c-d-e
4)   Spanish           a-b-b-a a-b-b-a c-d-c d-c-d
5)   Couplet           a-a-b-b-c-c-d-d-e-e-f-f-g-g
6)   Tercet             a-a-a-b-b-b-c-c-c-d-d-d-e-e
7)   Quatrain         a-b-b-a-c-d-d-c-e-f-f-e-g-g
8)   Quintet           a-b-a-b-a-c-d-c-d-c-e-e-f-f
9)   Sestet             a-b-c-a-b-c-d-e-f-d-e-f-g-g
10) Septet            a-b-a-b-b-c-c-d-e-d-e-e-f-f
11) Nine-line        a-b-a-b-b-c-b-c-c-d-d-d-e-e
12) Occitan          a-b-a-b a-b-a-b c-d-c-d-c-d
13) P.R.               a-b-b-a-a-c-c-d-d-c-c-e-e-c
14) Dante’s          a-a-b-b-b-a-a-a-b-b-b-a-c-c
15) Pushkin         a-B-a-B-c-c-D-D-e-F-F-e-G-G*

*Letters: LC=feminine UC=masculine rhyme ending


****************************************************************

Now, let's look at the following poem by William Shakespeare and see what we can do to remix the
poem and modernize it.  I've placed the letters of the rhyme scheme along the left side for better
visualization.

Sonnet XVIII

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


*****************************************************************

Here, the first thing I did was write a modern day translation of Shakespeare's sonnet, adhering to the
fourteen line and rhyme scheme of the English sonnet, and not adhering to any meter or line length in
particular.  Let's use my poem to further remix it.  

Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier and more reserved.
a Violent winds may shake the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long, or well preserved.
c Sometimes, the sun shines far too brightly,
d Its golden face often covered by clouds,
c And eventually, everything beautiful becomes unsightly.
d By accident, or nature's hand, is beauty plowed,
e But your ageless summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession of your loveliness,
e Nor will Death boast that you shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses, Time embraces your foreverness.
g As long as people exist or have vision true,
g This poem will live, and this poem gives life to you.


*********************************************************************

There are two parts to the poem.  The first seven lines present the dilemma, and the second half
presents the resolution or turn in the poem, called the
volta.  So,Why not split the poem in half and
give the poem a different look, such as in the following:

Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier and more reserved.
a Violent winds may shake the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long, or well preserved.
c Sometimes, the sun shines far too brightly,
d Its golden face often covered by clouds,
c And eventually, everything beautiful becomes unsightly.

d By accident, or nature's hand, is beauty plowed,
e But your ageless summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession of your loveliness,
e Nor will Death boast that you shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses, Time embraces your foreverness.
g As long as people exist or have vision true,
g This poem will live, and this poem gives life to you.

*********************************************************************

But, why stop there?  Let's further change it.  Let's split it one more time.

Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier and more reserved.
a Violent winds may shake the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long, or well preserved.
c Sometimes, the sun shines far too brightly,
d Its golden face often covered by clouds,
c And eventually, everything beautiful becomes unsightly.

d By accident, or nature's hand, is beauty plowed,
e But your ageless summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession of your loveliness,
e Nor will Death boast that you shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses, Time embraces your foreverness.

g As long as people exist or have vision true,
g This poem will live, and this poem gives life to you.


***************************************************************

The previous poem is still a Shakespearean sonnet, it's simply presented in a different manner.  But,
more can still be done with this poem. How about presenting the sonnet as follows:

Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier and more reserved.
a Violent winds may shake the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long, or well preserved.

c Sometimes, the sun shines far too brightly,
d Its golden face often covered by clouds,
c And eventually, everything beautiful becomes unsightly.
d By accident, or nature's hand, is beauty plowed,

e But your ageless summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession of your loveliness,
e Nor will Death boast that you shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses, Time embraces your foreverness.

g As long as people exist or have vision true,
g This poem will live, and this poem gives life to you.

Why don't we start splitting each individual line.  Take a look at the following variation of this sonnet.

*********************************************************************************
I've left the bold letters in for better visualization.  Let's keep going.  How about the following?


Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you
to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier
and more reserved.
a Violent winds may shake
the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long,
or well preserved.
c Sometimes, the sun shines
far too brightly,
d Its golden face often
covered by clouds,
c And eventually, everything
beautiful becomes unsightly.

d By accident, or nature's hand,
is beauty plowed,
e But your ageless
summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession
of your loveliness,
e Nor will Death boast that you
shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses,
Time embraces your foreverness.

g As long as people exist
or have vision true,
g This poem will live,
and this poem gives life to you.

As you can see, there are many ways of giving an old form a new face.  Let's keep going and see what
more can be done to remix this poem.

********************************************************************
How about presenting your poem even further divided, let's say, presenting it in quatrains.


Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

a Should I compare you
to a summer's day?
b You are far lovelier
and more reserved.

a Violent winds may shake
the pretty flowers of May,
b And summer's days may not be long,
or well preserved.

c Sometimes, the sun shines
far too brightly,
d Its golden face often
covered by clouds,

c And eventually, everything
beautiful becomes unsightly.
d By accident, or nature's hand,
is beauty plowed,

e But your ageless
summer will not fade,
f Nor will you lose possession
of your loveliness,

e Nor will Death boast that you
shrivel in his shade,
f When, in my verses,
Time embraces your foreverness.

g As long as people exist
or have vision true,
g This poem will live,
and this poem gives life to you.

********************************************************************
Now, for a final alteration.  Below is my final presentation of the sonnet I have remixed and modernized.
I've taken out the letters.


Sonnet XVIII by W.S. in the Modern Mind

Should I compare you
     to a summer's day?
             You are far lovelier
                     and more reserved.

Violent winds may shake
     the pretty flowers of May,
             And summer's days may not be long,
                     or well preserved.

Sometimes, the sun shines
     far too brightly,
             Its golden face often
                     covered by clouds,

And eventually, everything
     beautiful becomes unsightly.

             By accident, or nature's hand,
                     is beauty plowed,
But your ageless
     summer will not fade,
             Nor will you lose possession
                     of your loveliness,

Nor will Death boast that you
     shrivel in his shade,
             When, in my verses,
                     Time embraces your foreverness.

As long as people exist
     or have vision true,
             This poem will live,
                     and this poem gives life to you.
by Eddie Morales




********************************************************************
CONCLUSION
If you do the math, from the list of sonnets on the previous page, you have 15 sonnet forms, and
eleven ways to write each one—at least!  That means if you were to write one sonnet in each form,
that’s 165 different sonnets.  That’s enough for two 100-page (standard, accounting for title page,
dedication page, table of contents, etc.) books of poetry

Note: I didn’t mention anything about sight rhymes.
Write a sight rhyme for each sonnet we’ve talked about, and how many sonnets would you have then?

THE END

Bibliography
• I. Bell, et al. A Companion to Shakespeare's Sonnets. Blackwell Publishing, 2006. ISBN
1-4051-2155-6.

• Bertoni, Giulio (1915). I Trovatori d'Italia: Biografie, testi, tradizioni, note. Rome Società
Multigrafica Editrice Somu.

• T. W. H. Crosland. The English Sonnet. Hesperides Press, 2006. ISBN 1-4067-9691-3.

• J. Fuller. The Oxford Book of Sonnets. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-19-280389-1.

• J. Fuller. The Sonnet. (The Critical Idiom: #26). Methuen & Co., 1972. ISBN 0-416-65690-0.

• J. Hollander. Sonnets: From Dante to the Present. Everyman's Library, 2001.
ISBN 0-375-41177-1.

• P. Levin. The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English.
Penguin, 2001. ISBN 0-14-058929-5.

• S. Mayne. Ricochet, Word Sonnets - Sonnets d'un mot. Translated by Sabine Huynh.
University of Ottawa Press, 2011. ISBN 978-2-7603-0761-2

• J. Phelan. The Nineteenth Century Sonnet. Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. ISBN 1-4039-3804-0.

• S. Regan. The Sonnet. Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-19-289307-6.

• M. R. G. Spiller. The Development of the Sonnet: An Introduction. Routledge, 1992.
ISBN 0- 415-08741-4.

• M. R. G. Spiller. The Sonnet Sequence: A Study of Its Strategies. Twayne Pub., 1997.
ISBN 0-8057-0970-3.
Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza
Aug 19, 1398-Mar 25, 1458
Francesco Petrarca
Jul 20, 1304-Jul 19, 1374
P    O    E    T    I    C    O    N
SONNET REMIX AND MODERNIZATION
Giacomo da Lentini

Born 1195 to 1205
in Sicily--and nothing is
known about his death or
place of death.  According
to the average life
expectancy of the times of
35 years to 50 years, you
can only calculate he died
between
1230 A.D.  and 1245 A.D.
FOOT

Iambus

Trochee

Spondee

Pyrrhic

Anapest

Dactyl

Amphibrach
ACCENT

u / s

s / u

s / s

u / u

u / u / u

s / u / u

u / s / u
METER

Trochaic

Spondee

Pyrrhic

Anapestic

Dactylic

Amphibrach
SYLLABLES

2

2

2

2

3

3

3
Monometer
Dimeter
Trimeter
Tetrameter
Pentameter
Hexameter
Heptameter
Octameter (Poean)
Caudate
Inverted (for couplet ending sonnets)
Modern
Sir Edmund Spenser
1552-Jan 13, 1599
William Shakespeare
Apr 1564-Apr 23, 1616
a
b
a
b
a
b
a
b
c
d
c
d
c
d
a
b
a
b
a
b
a
b

c
d
c
d
c
d
a
b
b
a
a
b
b
a
c
d
e
c
d
e
b
b
a

a
b
b
a

c
d
c

d
c
d
a
b
a
b
c
d
c
d
e
f
e
f
g
g