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Sonnets may well be the most studied and practiced poetic forms in the English language. The Academy of American Poets defines a sonnet as: “a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, employing one of several rhyme schemes, and adhering to a tightly structured thematic organization. … The name is taken from the Italian sonetto, which means ‘a little sound or song.'” Poets like those below have been experimenting with the form for hundreds of years.

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“Sonnet,” Cathy Park Hong

“White, White Collars,” Denis Johnson

“First Alzheimer’s Sonnet,” Marilyn Nelson

“Durian Sonnet from ‘A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure’,” Hoa Nguyen

“Cha-ching,” Zakia Henderson-Brown

“Sonnet,” W. S. Merwin

“The Mariner’s Progress.” Ishion Hutchinson

“Legendary #1: New York City, 1987,” Nicole Sealey

“from ‘The Lichtenberg Figures’,” Ben Lerner

“The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America or Something like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley,” June Jordan

“Sonnet: The History of Puerto Rico,” Jack Agüeros


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