Spectacular Sonnets You Should Know

The sonnet, a tried-and-true poetic form stretching back to 13th-century Italy and England, continues its longstanding popularity among contemporary British and American poets. The standard form is fourteen lines of iambic pentameter with various end-rhyme patterns, but poets have experimented with that structure within both the Italian (Petrarchan) and English (Shakespearian) versions.

We’ll look closely at sonnets by Shakespeare, Donne, poets of the Romantic period, and during the two World Wars, as well as some by Frost, cummings, Heaney, Wilbur, and some living poets you probably haven’t heard of.

I promise you’ll find delights and some surprises, as well as gaining admiration and enhanced respect for this familiar form. We’ll dig deeply into 3-5 sonnets per class, in chronological groupings. I’ll ask you to read each one several times, including aloud, before class. All the sonnets should be readily available online, except for those in the last two classes, which I’ll send you by email. Surrender yourself to their lyricism!

Group Leader: LIZ CABOT
Venue: King's Chapel Parish House
Meets on: Mondays 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Starting: 10/16/2023
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 20
Teaching Style: Seminar
Weekly Preparation: 1 hour
Group Leader Biography:

Liz Cabot has led two poetry courses and two courses on Virginia Woolf for BHS. In local universities, she taught literature surveys and composition for many years, before and after obtaining her Ph.D. from Boston University. More recently she taught in two other senior learning venues. Her other long-term occupation has been instructing adults in ESOL (or English Language Learning). Currently she leads English conversation classes with the Cambridge Public Library Literacy Center and tutors individuals in our complex but rewarding language. In addition to widespread reading, her other hours are absorbed in music, travel, non-profit activism, outdoor recreation, and dabbling in writing her own poems. She’s greatly looking forward to seeing poetry lovers in class again.