Angel L Villanueva

The Shakespearean sonnet is one of my favorite forms. It consists of 140 syllables in 14 lines of 10 syllables each. They are arranged in unstressed and stressed patterns, called iambs. An iamb is a foot of two syllables, with the first one unstressed and the second one stressed. The result is a line that reads like a steady heart beat: daDUM, daDUM. Traditionally, the Shakespearean sonnet follows a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

There are times when poets change the sonnet's rhythm to add variety to the poem by using another meter scheme, like a trochee or dactyl. With a trochee, the first syllable is stressed and the second is unstressed, while with a dactyl the first syllable is stressed and the next two unstressed.

The sonnet is usually arranged into three quatrains, with an idea presented in the first quatrain, followed by a change of thought, usually at the 9th line, and then closing with a summarizing couplet.

A Petrarchan sonnet, also known as an Italian sonnet, is divided into two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet. The rhyme scheme for the octave is ABBA ABBA, while the sestet is typically CDECDE.

There is also the Spenserian sonnet. The structure is like that of the Shakespearean sonnet, but it follows the scheme ABAB BCBC CDCD EE.

To read a poem, click on its thumbnail image.

Thank you for your visit!