Spenserians Need Not Apply

Five to seven rhymes in fourteen lines
With two or three ideas and a “turn”
Or volta–which, you’ll be chagrined to learn,
Is placed at different points for different kinds–
With pentametric iambs down their spines:
Spot that, you’ve got a sonnet! Shakespeare’d spurn
The references to ABBA, and he’d churn
Out couplets on which Petrarch’d levy fines,
But both the English and Italians
Were faithful to their favored sonnet forms
To such extent that they begat namesakes
As recognizable as two old friends.
For centuries they both have weathered storms
Of taste and fashion. (All the rest are fakes.)


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