How to Write a Sonnet
In order to write a sonnet, it is important to be aware of form constraints. For this example, let’s try the English sonnet.
- Begin with your subject. The most classic subject for an English sonnet is romantic love.
- Plot your rhyme scheme.
- Create lines within this rhyme scheme which use iambic pentameter, or ten syllables.
A My love, I yearn to be near you today.
B The distance between us is just too much
A for my soul to reach you so far away.
B If you were here, you would know my soft clutch.
C I’d build a ship to cross the ocean blue,
D sailing through tempests, rough seas, expanses
C if it meant I could at last get to you
D and then receive your loving and kind kiss.
E But because I cannot build a strong ship
F this poorly written poem’ll have to do.
E I hope your image of me will not dip
F or that you will then decide we are through
G upon reading my attempt at a sonnet
G which lacks beauty like yours but has some wit.
Writing a sonnet can be time-consuming and difficult with syllable-counting and rhyming, but it can also be a fun way to express yourself.
When to Use Sonnets
Sonnets have historically been used for a wide variety of tasks. Sonnets have been used to record and comment on history, compliment and court lovers, examine political ideas, express religious devotion or questioning, and describe and celebrate the world and nature. Today, sonnets are traditionally known as a common form of romantic poetry used to flatter and celebrate loved ones. As a poetic form, the sonnet can be used to examine numerous subjects and ideas.