How To Write Sonnet Poetry

Form and Meter

Writing a sonnet is a complex but rewarding task. It follows an established structure. Sonnets typically have fourteen lines. The lines are traditionally written in an iambic pentameter, which is a meter that contains five feet of two syllables each with the stress on the second syllable. Like other rhyme schemes, there are several types of rhyme schemes for a sonnet, though the most commonly known is the Shakespearean, or English sonnet style. This is characterized by three quatrains in rhyming couplets of ABAB CDCD EFEF, and a final couplet of GG.

Rhyme and Rhythm

Rhyme is essential to the sonnet form. This is because it binds the full composition together, creating aural continuity between lines and the linking of ideas into a cohesive whole. It’s important to remember that the rhymes need to fit and make sense in the context of the poem – they must feel natural to the ear, both when you read the poem as a whole and when you take into consideration the poem’s individual lines.
The rhythm of a sonnet poem is also a very important part of its structure and should be considered closely when writing one. As mentioned, the traditional sonnet has an iambic pentameter, meaning it has five beats or stressed syllables in each line. This is the rhythm that should be followed.

Choosing a Topic

Before beginning to write a sonnet, a poet should choose a topic and overall idea that the sonnet will convey. Sonnets can be about love, loss, joy, sorrow, life, and many other topics. It’s essential to pick an idea to focus on and further develop throughout the sonnet.


Most sonnets include metaphors and other creative language devices that allow the poet to develop ideas in an intricate, stylized way. Creative language combined with the idea explored in the poem provides the sonnet with depth and meaning. To achieve this, poets must use vivid imagery to create a picture in the reader’s mind that arrives at a strong conclusion.

Developing Reflections

A sonnet poem should be written from personal experience, reflection, or observation. For example, a poet who chooses to write about love may reflect on his or her own experiences of being in or out of love. It’s important for all of the reflections included in the poem to tie together in the final couplet.

Reaching a Resolution

The last two lines of a sonnet typically reach a strong resolution that brings together the ideas explored in the poem. This resolution will usually either leave the reader with a feeling of hope, or alternatively, a feeling of sadness or despair.

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration is essential when it comes to writing a sonnet. It’s important to draw on personal experiences, memories, and emotions to bring depth and emotion to the poem. Other writers and poets can also be a great source of inspiration. Reading the works of other poets can often help writers to develop their own unique approach to writing sonnets.

Editing the Sonnet

Once the poem has been written, it’s important to spend some time reading through it in its entirety and making any necessary edits. Editing helps to ensure that the grammar, structure, and syntax are correct. It also helps to ensure that the poem has balance and flows well.

Practice Makes Perfect

Writing a sonnet is a skill that can be improved through practice. The more time a poet spends writing sonnets, the better they will become at it. Eventually, new and original sonnets can be written that have the potential to become enduring classics.

Understanding the Audience

When writing a sonnet, the author should keep in mind who their intended audience will be. Knowing who the readers are helps the writer to craft the poem in a way that will be meaningful and resonate with them. Figuring out how to connect with the reader is key to creating a great sonnet.

Using Traditional Themes

Though many modern sonnets have been written about contemporary topics, traditional sonnets have often been about love, unrequited love, beauty, mortality, and the passing of time. Keeping these classic themes in mind when writing can help to evoke emotion in readers and ensure the sonnet is memorable.

Choosing the Tone

The tone of a sonnet is an important factor to consider when writing. Sonnets can range from passionate to melancholy to humorous, depending on the tone the poet chooses. Selecting the right tone is the key to portraying the poet’s message and allowing them to connect with their reader.

Exploring Other Forms

When writing a sonnet, it’s important to branch out and explore other forms of poetry. Doing so can help to open up a writer’s mind and break away from traditional thinking. It also helps to give writers a better understanding of the fundamentals of poetry in general and of the sonnet form in particular.

Exploring Rhyme Schemes

Rhyme schemes are an important part of sonnet writing, and there are a variety of rhyme schemes to explore. Though the Shakespearean or English sonnet is the most commonly known scheme, there are several other versions as well, each of which can add a different emotion and style to the poem.

Using Metaphors

Metaphors are powerful tools for poets, and they can be used to craft powerful images that readers can appreciate and connect with. Metaphors can also be used to portray the idea of the sonnet in a more lyrical and descriptive way.

Studying Other Poets

Studying the work of other poets can also be a great source of inspiration when writing sonnets. Exploring the works of master poets such as Shakespeare and Milton can often lead to insight into how to write more effective and meaningful sonnets.

Using Imagery

Imagery plays a major role in sonnets and helps to bring the idea of the poem to life on the page. Imagery can be used to create vivid images that evoke the emotion of the poem. It’s important for poets to ensure their imagery is vivid, evocative, and conveys the message of the poem.

Selecting the Title

The title of the poem is often the first thing a reader will look at, and it should capture the essence of the poem in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. Titles often contain a keyword or basic description of the overall idea of the poem, and should be chosen intelligently.

Minnie Walters is a passionate writer and lover of poetry. She has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the work of famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more. She hopes you will also fall in love with poetry!

Leave a Comment