Everything You Need To Know About A Sonnet

The word sonnet is derived from the Italian word “sonetto,” which means a “little song” or small lyric. In poetry, a sonnet has 14 lines, and is written in iambic pentameter.

But, what is iambic pentameter?

Iambic is used to refer to a rhythm (= pattern of words) used in poetry, in which each short syllable that is not stressed is followed by a long or stressed syllable. Iambic pentameter is a rhythm with each line made of five iambic pairs.

In a sonnet, each line has 10 syllables. It has a specific rhyme scheme, and a volta, or a specific turn.

There are six types of Sonnets:

  1. Italian Sonnet (Rhymes as abba–abba–cdc–dcd)

1

  1. Shakespearean Sonnet (Rhymes as abab–cdcd–efef–gg)

2

  1. Spenserian Sonnet (Rhymes as abab–bcbc–cdcd–ee)

3

  1. Miltonic Sonnet (Rhymes as abab–cdcd–efef–gg and omits the volta)

4

  1. Terza Rima Sonnet (Rhymes as aba–bcb–cdc–ded…)

5

  1. Curtal Sonnet (Rhymes as abcabc–dcbdc or abcabc dbcdc with the last line a tail, or half a line)

6

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