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.

“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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