Article Image

IPFS News Link • Art

The sonnet machine

• arclein

The history of poetry is a history of forms, many of which we learn in school. We learn about the ode, which praises a person or a thing; the elegy, which laments the loss of love or life; the haiku, with its limited syllable counts; the ballad, which tells a story. But none of these forms does as much cognitive work as the lowly sonnet. 'Scorn not the Sonnet,' wrote William Wordsworth. He knew whereof he spoke. The sonnet first appeared in 13th-century Italy. A cleric named Giacomo da Lentini is usually credited as the first sonnet writer. His contemporary Dante Alighieri helped refine the form, before he turned his hand to his much longer Divine Comedy. Sonnet means 'little sound'. It seems to have evolved out of an earlier Italian form called the strambotto, which consisted of stanzas of six or eight lines. The sonnet involved putting two of these stanzas together to produce a little poem of 14 lines, divided into eight lines and six lines ?" an octave and a sestet