Aspects of Poetry

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To be able to explain the aspects of poetry to you all, I thought I would break the mini lesson down into two parts. It will help you understand the differences between a poem and a sonnet, and will make it easier to absorb all of the components involved. First we will start with a sonnet. Let’s start by talking about just what a sonnet is. “Before Shakespeare’s day, the word “sonnet” meant simply “little song,” i.e., a short lyric poem” (poetry.about.com, 2010). By the 1200’s, the sonnet had come to be known as a form of poetry that is comprised of 14 lines. The first type of sonnet was the Italian version, also known as the Petrarchan sonnet. The Italian sonnet is separated into two segments by two different clusters of rhyming sounds. The first 8 lines are called the octave and it serves as the question. The remaining 6 lines are called the sestet. The sestet serves as the answer to the octave, or the question. Later we came to know the English version, or the Shakespearean version. The English sonnet differs from the Italian sonnet in the way is broken down. The English sonnet has four divisions, not two. You will notice the breaks between the divisions. The first three parts are called the quatrain, and the last part is called the couplet. The couplet is an observation of the first three parts, or quatrains. I will be breaking down the aspects of a sonnet. We will discuss the theme, the language usage, and the metaphorical references that are found within the sonnet that I have chosen. It was a tough decision, but the sonnet I chose to discuss is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning [1806 – 1861] Here is the sonnet:

The first aspect we will tackle is the theme. Common themes can be related to love, death, war, and others. The obvious theme in the chosen sonnet is love and the sonneteer’s feelings towards her husband to be, Robert Browning. It is a beautiful sonnet and shows just how intense her love is for her...
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