As we have been discussing in class, the sonnet is a poetic form that dates back to the 13th century. It comprises specific formal elements: it is 14 lines in length, is usually written in iambic pentameter, and follows a regular rhyme scheme. Perhaps most importantly, it features a problem or situation in its first section (the first 8 or 12 lines, depending on which type of sonnet it is), followed by a resolution or different perspective in the second half. Your assignment for this first response is to find a short piece of text that you can interpret as a modern-day version of the sonnet. It can be a conventional sonnet, in the traditional sense of the word, or you can choose to interpret another kind of writing—a poster or flyer, a passage from a textbook, a page of class notes, a paragraph from a novel, the lyrics to a song, and so on—as a revised or altered version of the form. Remember the twist in meaning or plot in the second half of the traditional Italian and English sonnet! Write a double-spaced, two-page (not one and a half!) response (in Times New Roman Font, 12) that analyzes your “found poem” and makes the case that it is a sonnet. Be sure to consider the characteristics of the sonnet form that we have discussed in class. Include specific examples from your text as supporting evidence. You may find it helpful to discuss one element of the sonnet form in each paragraph and/or to offer an up-to-date definition of the form in the introduction. Staple a copy of your “modern-day sonnet” to the back of your response. You will not receive full credit for the assignment without it. IMPORTANT: I don’t want you using outside research / criticism for this assignment. Anyone using ideas and/or language from an outside source will receive a zero for the assignment.
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