A description of Shakespearean (English) Sonnets
No set of poetry instructions would be complete without a guide to writing Shakespearean sonnets AKA English Sonnets. These beautiful and elaborate pieces of poetry were of course named after the Bard, William Shakespeare! They are not the easiest of poems to write because they are typically in iambic pentameter, which is a specific set of ten measures or syllables per line. Iambic pentameter usually follows a pattern of one word being "hard" and the next word or measure (syllable) being soft. The word "southern" is an example. The first syllable is somewhat more pronounced or hard than the second syllable. Iambic pentameter uses ten such measures per line. It is very challenging I ng to say the least. Many poets simply use ten syllables per line and let that suffice as iambic pentameter. I usually do too.
Shakespearean sonnets are 14 lines with 3 stanza's. The first stanza has four lines with a rhyme scheme of A, B, A, B. This is followed by a second stanza with a rhyme scheme of C, D, C, D. It is followed by a third stanza with a rhyme scheme of E, F, E, F. This is followed with a final couplet with a rhyme scheme of G, G.
Some poets write these poems in tetrameter but a true English sonnet is in pentameter.
I hope this was as clear as mud! It can be at times but they are fun to write. I'll put some in my port.