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Sonnet Poetry Writing Workshop


The Sonnet is a poem with three importantelements that tell us clearly that it is a sonnet:

1.  It has 14 lines.
2.  Each line has 10 syllables.
3.  It is a rhyming poem, with a strict rhyme pattern.


The two most well-known forms of sonnet are the English (or Shakespearean sonnet) and the Italian (or Petrarchan sonnet). Shakespeare popularised the English sonnet and Petrachan was the first major writer of the Italian sonnet. Sonnets are generally written in iambic pentameter.

Iambic pentameter means each line has 10 syllables. Syllables mean a division of words. For example when you say cat you are using 1 syllable, water you are using 2: wat-er; forever is three syllables for-ev-er; and so on. A way of remembering iambic pentameter is to say out loud: ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum, ti-tum. So the opening to a sonnet could be: Scribbler! Oh what joy you can find in here.

So remember, a sonnet has 14 lines and 10 syllables. Lastly, you need to pay attention to the rhyme pattern:

Lines 1 and 3 rhyme A
Lines 2 and 4 rhyme B
Lines 5 and 7 rhyme C
Lines 6 and 8 rhyme D
Lines 9 and 11 rhyme E
Lines 10 and 12 rhyme F
Lines 13 and 14 rhyme G

An Example of a Sonnet

oh what a joy you can find here (A)
Eric is the one that heads the great team (B)
Full of poems, stories and happy cheer (A)
Hopefully it will make our readers gleam (B)
Bernard's Grammar is full of homework help (C)
Guest authors revealing secrets galore (D)
While the tricky puzzles will make you yelp (C)
There is no way Scribbler! will make you snore (D)
Lord Oscar starts a tale needing an end (E)
Fancy a challenge? Puzzle Time is here (F)
Bizzy picks the great pictures you all send (E)
Ev'ryissue's jam-packed, let's give a cheer (F)
How 'bout finding Eric hidden away (G)
Jump on the Scribbler! wagon, come and play! (G)

Your Turn

Finished? Why not submit your poem to Young Writers and we will enter it into one of our competitions.

Alternatively send your poem to:

Young Writers, Remus House, Coltsfoot Drive, Woodston, Peterborough, PE2 9BF or email it to