Poetry Definitions and Experimentation, Part 3

Yes, I know I promised to get the last part of this series to you a long time ago.  Sorry for the delay.  Anyway, without any further ado, the third part of this series.  Of course, first are the definitions:

  • Alliteration–repeated sounds at the beginning of words (that Slick old Soggy Sick Sand).
  • Consonance–repeated consonant sounds anywhere in the words (Sally Sank to the bottomS).
  • Assonance–repeated vowel sounds anywhere in the words (SAlly sAnk sAdly).

And now onto the interesting stuff!  The POETRY… *trumpets play* Dun, dun, DUUUUNNN… (I’ll be normal now).


A sonnet is a fourteen line poem written in iambic pentameter (see the earlier parts of this series), traditionally written about love.  There are two types of sonnets (well, there are actually three, but I’m just talking about the most common ones): English (or Shakespearean) and Italian (or Petrarchan).  The difference is in their rhyme schemes.  English sonnets have the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.  It consists of 3 quatrains (four line stanzas) and 1 couplet (a two line stanza).  The Italian sonnet has a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBA CDECDE and consists of 1 octave (an eight line stanza) and 1 sestet (a six line stanza).  Both English and Italian sonnets contain a volta or “turn” within the last (or the last few) stanzas.  A problem is related in the first stanza(s), and the problem is resolved in the volta.  For more information on sonnets, go to this website.

Here’s an example of a sonnet written by Shakespeare (so this is a Shakespearean sonnet 😉 ):

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory:
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content
And, tender churl, makest waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

~Shakespeare’s Sonnet 1 (taken from Shakespeare Online)

This is a Petrarchan sonnet written by John Milton.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

~John Milton “On His Blindness”


If you’re a poetry geek like me, and you want to know more about sonnets and such, then visit this page.  There’s a lot of great information on there.

So that’s it for this poetry “series!”  As always, please comment.  Thanks!



4 thoughts on “Poetry Definitions and Experimentation, Part 3

  1. hannahwriter98

    Ah, sonnets! Shakespeare has some of my favorites, but I confess that I have never gotten very good at Italian sonnets. Great job of explaining both!

    Liked by 1 person

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