Poems that use the Form, Sonnet

Who in One Lifetime by Muriel Rukeyser

‘Who in One Lifetime’ by Muriel Rukeyser is a poem about resistance in the face of war and suffering. The speaker asserts that a woman referred to only as “she” is standing strong despite what she’s seen. 

Who in One Lifetime by Muriel Rukeyser Visual Representation

Snowflake by William Baer

‘Snowflake,’ a sonnet by William Baer, beautifully captures the journey of a flake of snow from being a vapor to landing on a girl’s “unkissed lips.”

Snowflake by William Baer Visual Representation

Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen

‘Yet Do I Marvel’ by Countee Cullen is a poem about faith. No matter the darkness the speaker sees in the world, he maintains his faith in his own role in God’s plan.

Yet Do I Marvel by Countee Cullen Visual Representation

November Cotton Flower by Jean Toomer

‘November Cotton Flower’ by Jean Toomer is a powerful extended metaphor for the lives of Black men, women, and children in the southern United States. It alludes to slavery and the hope that the Civil Rights Movement presented. 

November Cotton Flower by Jean Toomer Visual Representation

Horace to Leuconoe by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Edwin Arlington Robinson’s sonnet ‘Horace to Leuconoe’ is a passionate address of a lover to a girl, brooding over what God might have in store for her. He advises her to seize the moment and forget about the past and the future.

Horace to Leuconoe by Edwin Arlington Robinson Visual Representation

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles by John Keats

‘On Seeing the Elgin Marbles’ by John Keats is a poem about mortality. The speaker observes the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum and is moved by their power. 

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles by John Keats Visual Representation

Sonnet 227 by Petrarch

‘Sonnet 227’ is about “Love,” particularly “Unrequited love.” Petrarch expresses his deep love for Laura, her indifference towards his love, and the various contrasting emotions he undergoes in the poem.

Sonnet 227 by Petrarch Visual Representation

The Famous Writer by Daniel Galef

‘The Famous Writer’ by Daniel Galef is a compelling poem about the effects of fame. The speaker is aware that fame is destructive but wants to experience it for himself. 

The Famous Writer by Daniel Galef Visual Representation

A Fairy Song by William Shakespeare

‘A Fairy Song’ by William Shakespeare features in the well-loved play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s sung by a fairy and describes their work.

a fairy song by william shakespeare

Shakespearean Sonnet by R. S. Gwynn

‘Shakespearean Sonnet’ by R. S. Gwynn is a celebration of Shakespeare’s plays. Each line of the poem refers to a different tragedy, comedy, or history play.

Shakespearean Sonnet by R. S. Gwynn Visual Representation

For My Daughter by Weldon Kees

‘For My Daughter’ by Weldon Kees is an interesting poem about a speaker’s thoughts about having a daughter and considering her death. 

For My Daughter by Weldon Kees Visual Representation

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman

‘Unholy Sonnet 13’ appears in the modern American poet Mark Jarman’s award-winning poetry collection Questions for Ecclesiastes (1997). This sonnet is about a matured speaker’s belief in God and the miraculous beauty of nature.

Unholy Sonnet 13 by Mark Jarman Visual Representation

The Tradition by Jericho Brown

The Tradition is the titular poem from Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown’s poetry collection. It brings to light the maltreatment of African Americans in the present US, while relating it to the past.

The Tradition Poem Visual Representation

Syntax by Carol Ann Duffy

In Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Syntax,’ surprising language of love lands like a lover’s warm touch and scribbles on your skin, right off the page. The Rumpus, in praise of Duffy’s poetry collection “Rapture” (2005) remarked so, that aptly applies to this poem.

Syntax by Carol Ann Duffy Visual Representation

The Birth of the Building Society – Nationwide Poem

The poem used in the Nationwide advert, ‘The Birth of the Building Society’ by Stephen Morrison-Burke, was written to tell the origin story of building societies. It also seeks to differentiate them from banks in customer’s eyes.

Harlem Hopscotch by Maya Angelou

‘Harlem Hopscotch’ by Maya Angelou is a thoughtful poem. It explores what it’s like to grow up Black in Harlem, New York.

Suburban Sonnet by Gwen Harwood

‘Suburban Sonnet’ by Gwen Harwood is a powerful poem about a woman’s struggles with motherhood. It explores the mundane elements of her life and her lost dreams.

In The Park by Gwen Harwood

‘In The Park’ by Gwen Harwood is a moving poem about how difficult motherhood can truly be. It describes a mother’s distress over her lost life.

In the park by gwen harwood

Sonnet 107 by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 107, ‘Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

Sonnet 103 by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 103, ‘Alack! what poverty my Muse brings forth,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

Sonnet 102 by William Shakespeare

Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 102, ‘My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming,’ with a summary and complete analysis of the poem.

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