Friday, July 8, 2011

Shall I compare Thee to a wee song ( Literary Blog Hop: July 7-10)

The ladies of the blue bookcase have chosen a fantastic question for this hop & one that allows me to write about a favourite subject – Poetry,  the question is -
“What is one of your favourite literary devices? Why do you like it? Provide a definition and an awesome example.”
Answer – Sonnet.
The Sonnet is a form of poetry of European origin, particularly Great Britain and Italy. By the thirteenth century had formalised into a fourteen line poem in iambic pentameter with a prescribed rhyme scheme, the term comes from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto both meaning little song, or little sound and  traditionally its subject matter was love. There are three variations most commonly found in English, although there are others occasionally seen.

1• The English or Shakespearean Sonnet: a style of sonnet as  used by …. Shakespeare, Although it’s  named after Bill Shakespeare, this is merely due to the fact that he is considered its most famous practitioner and not due him introducing it. This was probably Thomas Wyatt in the early 16th century, though his were chiefly translations of Petrarch (more of him later) and it was down to  the Earl of Surrey who gave it a rhyming meter and its structural division into quatrains, that has come to characterizes the typical English sonnet, with its rhyme scheme of - abab cdcd efef gg

Sonnet 18 (Part of the Fair Youth sequence).
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date,
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
William Shakespeare.

2•  Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnet: a form of sonnet created by Giacomo da Lentini, head of the Sicilian school, it was rediscovered by Guittone d'Arezzo he took it to Tuscany, founding the Neo – Sicilian School, other Italians Poets that favoured this style was Dante Alighieri & Guido Cavalcanti. But the reason it’s known in English is down to Petrarca, commonly known in English as Petrarch -an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often referred to as the "Father of Humanism. This style was also used by the likes of John Milton, Thomas Gray,William Wordsworth and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. In the early twentieth-century American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay also wrote most of her sonnets using this form. Its rhyme scheme is - abbaabba cdecde  or  cdcdcd

Number 33 (Sonnets from the Portuguese)

Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear
The name I used to run at, when a child,
From innocent play, and leave the cow-slips piled,
To glance up in some face that proved me dear
With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear
Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled
Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,
Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,
While I call God--call God!--So let thy mouth
Be heir to those who are now exanimate.
Gather the north flowers to complete the south,
And catch the early love up in the late.
Yes, call me by that name,--and I, in truth,
With the same heart, will answer and not wait.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

3•  Spenserian Sonnet is a variant of the Shakespearean form in which the quatrains are linked with a chain or interlocked rhyme scheme, abab bcbc cdcd ee.
This was named after Edmund Spenser the form is treated as three quatrains connected by the interlocking rhyme scheme and then followed by a couplet.

Our Spring's Release

Until these snow drenched groves step out from shade,
Where deeper cast they find descent to dread,
The earth, from red to white, whose winds have made
Like near a tomb, shall lie while warmth lies dead.
And sleeping blooms ere lost will find their bed,
Where hopes of yearned and yet yearned love still lay,
And rested love may stir to raise her head
So soon recall her place and fly away.
These winds will never heal by Winter's sway,
But call the sun to beg for her bright hand,
That flowers laugh aloud while rivers play,
And life may soon make claim to lifeless land.
    So longing light the world grows darker then -
    But destined to release our Spring again...

David Zvekic

Apart from these well known forms there are others, like the Occitan of which the sole confirmed surviving sonnet in the Occitan language is  dated to 1284, and is conserved only in a troubadour manuscript. also there’s Caudate sonnet, Curtal sonnet, Pushkin sonnet, and the Brazilian sonnet and With the advent of free verse, the sonnet  has become to be seen as somewhat old-fashioned, although this has not stopped it being used by poets such as Wilfred Owen, John Berryman, George Meredith, Edwin Morgan, Robert Frost, Rupert Brooke, George Sterling, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Federico García Lorca, E.E. Cummings, Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, Robert Lowell, Joan Brossa, Vikram Seth, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jan Kal, Ernest Hilbert, Kim Addonizio, and Seamus Heaney

Just to finish this post I thought I would  mention The Sonnet Sequence, a series of sonnets in which there is a discernable unifying theme, while each
retains its own structural independence. All of Shakespeare’s sonnets, for example, were part of a sequence,

Sonnet (from 50 Sonnets)

Not if you crawled from there to here, you hear?
Not if you begged me, on your bleeding Knees.
Not if you lay exhausted at my door,
and pleaded with me for a chance.
Not if you wept (am I making this clear?)
or found a thousand different words for “Please”
ten thousand for “I’m sorry”, I’d ignore
you so sublimely; every new advance
would meet with such complete indifference.
Not if you promised me fidelity.
not if you meant it. What impertinence,
then, is this voice that murmurs, “ What if he
didn’t? That isn’t his line of attack.
What if he simply grinned, and said, I’m back?”
Eleanor Brown.

If you have a Poem/ Poet, you admire please introduce them to me.


Susan @ Reading World said...

I don't spend enough time reading poetry. This is a wonderful post. I can see why you picked the sonnet--given these great examples. I particularly like the last one. It's unfortunately a universally recognizable problem.

LBC said...

I love a good Shakespearean sonnet and they are really fun to teach. I like to use them for close reading because they are rewarding.

I'm also happy to see someone writing about a poetic form. I considered sestina before going with uncanny.

Eileen said...

I read some James Tate in high school and still remember how much I enjoyed him. I really should do a reread with him.

Bellezza said...

As usual, you teach me so much about poetry. I wasn't even aware of the Italian influence!

Do you know of Vikram Seth's work The Golden Gate which is "a novel in verse composed of 590 Onegin stanzas"? One of my dearest friends gave it to me when we were in high school, or just out; he always knows of the interesting and unusual much like you. Here's the link to it on amazon.

Christine said...

I'm an English teacher but (don't shoot me) am not really a huge fan of poetry. How about you come teach sonnets to my sophomores? ;)

neer said...

The last sonnet is wonderful. The heart...can it resist a grin? :)

Laurie said...

Thanks for pointing me this way today, and for your stellar contributions to the weekend Poem In Your Post blog hop; I always look forward to your offerings.
I too find the sonnet a rewarding form to teach - and to use as a container for some of my own poetic journeying. Especially fond of the last sonnet here, how she manages to work such contemporary diction into a classical structure, reenergizing the form...

gina said...

Now, what the heck is a troubadour manuscript? I'm intrigued!

@parridhlantern said...

Thanks susan, glad you liked the last one I chose as a counterpoint to the more trad offerings.

Hi LBC, Funnily enough I considered Sestina.

Ciao Bellezza, the major influence without Pretarca, no Shakespearian sonnet. Have bought the book from the UK branch thanks I knew about the Novels, but not this.

Hi Christine, sounds fun but sure about the commute.

Hi Neer, It's a fantastic poem & a grin can get one out of a lot of trouble..... or in.

Hi Laurie glad you like both this post & the poem posted. Maybe I'm a bit strange but I love a good Poetry spam. The last sonnet seems to have struck a chord with most people.
PS. I've probably said this before, but if you like poetry & are on Twitter, check out @pomesallsizes

Hi Gina,As you asked - The sole confirmed surviving sonnet in the Occitan language is confidently dated to 1284, and is conserved only in troubadour manuscript P, an Italian chansonnier of 1310, now XLI.42 in the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence.[4] It was written by Paolo Lanfranchi da Pistoia and is addressed to Peter III of Aragon. It employs the rhyme scheme a-b-a-b, a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d-c-d. This poem is historically interesting for its information on north Italian perspectives concerning the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the conflict between the Angevins and Aragonese for Sicily.[4] Peter III and the Aragonese cause was popular in northern Italy at the time and Paolo's sonnet is a celebration of his victory over the Angevins and Capetians in the Aragonese Crusade: hope that helps .

Em said...

I didn't know the Spenserian sonnet I have come across it, but never knew how to call it. I should have worked harder on my 1st year of poetry!

Song said...

Interesting choice. I'm not that much a fan of poetry, though I will read it if only to pick it apart and study in detail. I never read it for fun, though.

James said...

Your choice of the sonnet is wonderful and you could do no better than Shakespeare, Browning and Spenser for examples. I find Shakespeare's sonnets in particular a very deep well of beauty and truth. His words seem to form a musical verse for me that is difficult to describe. said...

Your post are very informative. I love learning something new or increasing my knowledge in a subject. Well done and thank you