Sonnet 101


OK so listen up, put down your phone
Here are the lecture notes I made for you.

Start a notebook or even a word or iPad document

In note form like this, ask an interesting question and search for a ‘creative’ answer.
As it is your poem, you are part of it. More later on this. Shakespeare’s most famous sonnet has the first person pronoun as its second word.

Write all thoughts down
Try to find and describe a vivid thought which helps you give life to the idea
A visual metaphor or simile helps me
This needs distance from your interesting central question.

The Q will make up the three quatrains of your sonnet
The A will be the knockout last couplet
Read out loud and listen to a sonnet you like
Say out loud one you leaned, to hear how it sounds.
Look for your starting line up
The line will carry a rhyme
The last bit of aline is a sound bite
Each quatrain has a structure of sound bites
Like abab
Or abba

Deda Deda Deda Deda deDAY
Deda Deda Deda Deda deBEE
Deda Deda Deda Deda deBEE
Deda Deda Deda Deda deDAY

Play around with these as rhythms

Practice with promising line end or rhyme candidates.
It seems there are rhyming dictionaries you can obtain but I never bothered.

Some great words don’t have enough rhymes so don’t spend a lot of time with them

Others show lots of rhymes. Most of these will have been used too much. You see the obvious lines coming, like in those TV advertising doggerel by advertising dogs.
Don’t give up on these but be ready to go beyond the obvious cliche rhyme

I would not want to start another line
And end up with a much used word of mine

I would not want to start another line
Hoping to write a satisfying verse
Then seeing all I have is worse
Than earlier experiments of mine

Line verse worse mine
Just about struggles past the TV doggerel test. I might even keep it

I f so, I have four lines in sonnet form.

Looking back on these notes the ‘starting line up’ helps more thoughts. I have been working on a book about football,
The manager picks a starting line like a poet picks up candidates for his team of players.

I remember The Rubaiyatt of Omar Khayyam. Fitzgerald got stuck into a game of chess as part of his line-up musing on the nature of life.

So my question might by

How can I write a sonnet?

Shakespeare got there first as usual. By the ‘I’ is different. The subject or do I mean the object will be different.

Put in context, the final two lines although not great poetry, have some honesty. I might keep them.

I would not want to start another line
And end up with a much used word of mine

To be continued

I am on my way.

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