Other Sonnet Forms

Although the above four types of sonnets are the most common, it’s also possible to find examples that do not conform to any of the traditional patterns. For example, ‘Never Give All The Heart’ by William Butler Yeats. It follows a rhyme scheme of AABBCCDDEEFFGG.

Changes in traditional patterns are often found within contemporary poetry. Since the mid-1900s, structured poetry has steadily fallen out of favor. This means that the vast majority of poems written today do not use a specific rhyme scheme or metrical pattern. They’re written in what’s known as free verse.

Below is an excerpt from a free verse sonnet:

American Sonnet by Billy Collins

[read the full analysis of ‘American Sonnet’ here]

We do not speak like Petrarch or wear a hat like Spenser

and it is not fourteen lines

like furrows in a small, carefully plowed field

but the picture postcard, a poem on vacation […]

In this sonnet, the poet pushes back against the traditional sonnet forms. Instead, the poem is divided into sets of three lines, known as tercets. These tercets do not follow a specific rhyme scheme, and, aside from the first stanza, all the lines appear to be around the same length.

Other contemporary sonnets include:

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