Monday 25 May 2009

Writing a sonnet

If you're writing the most familiar kind of sonnet, the Shakespearean, the rhyme scheme is this:


A sonnet is an argument. Its metaphors builds this argument, moves from one metaphor to the next. In a Shakespearean sonnet, the argument builds up like this:
  • First quatrain: An exposition of the main theme and main metaphor.
  • Second quatrain: Theme and metaphor extended or complicated; often, some imaginative example is given.
  • Third quatrain: Peripeteia (a twist or conflict), introduced by a "but" off the ninth line.
  • Couplet: Summarizes and leaves the reader with a new, concluding image.
If you have mastered these rules...check for this. As language evolves, practices change. Times have changed, as has language. See also: "rules" of The English Sonnet by Crosland disallowed rhymes using...
  • words ending in "ty," "ly" and "cy" must not be used as rhymes whether in octet or sestet.
  • This also applies to the pronoun "I" and to easy or over-worked rhymes such as "see," me," "be" and "day," "may," "play." "Be," "bee," "maybe,'' "sea," "see"
  • Words ending in "cy' do not rhyme together, and must not be "rhymed" in either octet br sestet. (Crosland, 1917)
I have a goal to become a bit more creative, weaving spoken word and digital images and video. (I am 'retired'!) If I am successful, my son, an actor who specializes in UK accents, will read it for me! I gave him a birthday card, which I put on YouTube when he did a cold reading (59 sec.). There is something that happens when you hear them read so!

Here is a short video by Dave Mckean demonstrating what I mean.

The text:

Sonnet 138 --Shakespeare

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.

Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue,
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:

But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love, loves not to have years told.

Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

3 min 31 sec

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