National Poetry Month 2023: Day 24

Happy Shakespeare’s birthday (and deathday)! Here below is one of his sonnets for you to enjoy.

But first, a note about sonnets: they have an interesting structure that goes beyond rhyme scheme and fourteen lines. In fact, we have both traditional sonnets (of which Shakespeare’s work is one example) and modern sonnets (which sometimes bear little to no resemblance to the traditional ones).

I’m teaching a workshop this Saturday afternoon — on Zoom, so you can all be there! — for Writespace about sonnets. Here’s the blurb about it and a link to register. (Shakespeare’s poem is after that.) There are still spots available as of this morning, so come join us!

Beyond Shakespeare: Writing Sonnets for This Century

Yes, the sonnet is an old form, but it’s been made new in a plethora of different ways in our modern era. For example, they don’t all have to be fourteen lines and about love anymore. In this generative workshop we’ll acknowledge the traditional masters of this art form while also exploring the many ways the sonnet has evolved. We’ll cover six different types of rhyme and the expanded range of subjects the sonnet now typically embraces, and we’ll dive into what it means when we say, “The sonnet is an argument.” This class will be a mixture of instruction and writing time, with the possibility of feedback on your work in a supportive atmosphere.

This course is appropriate for all skill levels. It makes a wonderful sequel to Kendra Leonard’s workshop on meter, but there are truly no prerequisites for it; you don’t have to take the meter class to take this one.


Sonnet 19

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-liv’d Phoenix in her blood;
Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleets,
And do whate’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
To the wide world and all her fading sweets;
But I forbid thee one more heinous crime:
O, carve not with thy hours my love’s fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen!
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong
My love shall in my verse ever live young.


Click on these links for the Shakespeare posts from 2018 and 2019 for some biographical information and images of him. I’ll warn you that the bios get more irreverent as time goes on, and I’ll add that he’s one of the few old dead white guy authors I think we still need to teach. Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s