Eng1020E September 15, 2011
Rules (or lack thereof) of Poems
Rules = (literary) conventions
Conventions of Sonnets
o 14 Lines
o Shakespearean Stanza/English Sonnet: final 2 lines conclude with a couplet
o 10 beats per line (usually)
o Subject of Sonnets: Love
Sonnets were often written by men for the lady loves (originating in Italy from a poet
named Petrarc who wrote about his love Laura). Sonnets were then brought to England.
o an eight line stanza (called an octave) followed by a six line stanza (called a
o the octave has two quatrains rhyming abba, abba
o in the sestet, the first three lines reflect on or exemplify the theme, while the last
three bring the poem to a unified end. The sestet may be arranged cd, or cde,
o *Breaks into two parts structurally: 1) Octave 2) Sestet. The point that the
speaker attempts to convey changes when switching from the Octave to the
Sestet (“when the song changes, the argument changes” – signalling a change).
Sonnets fall under the genre of Lyric. *Lyric = any short poem; non-narrative (doesn’t
tell a story).* “Presents a single speaker expressing a state of mind or a feeling.” –
Abram. The speaker is not associated with the poem.
Rhyme Scheme: Breaks down into 3 parts and a couplet.
A platonic love poem written about a man (by a man), speaking of eternal love, life, and
Raises the expectations of love.
Shakespeare raises a Petrarchan Conceit: an elaborate comparison of a subject to an
o No title to analyze.
o Begins with the speaker addressing an absent addressee.
o Imagery: drawn from nature (a summer’s day). Summer = Romance, Sun,
Happiness, Youth, Vibrancy, Energy, etc.