A contemporary sonnet to start your project: enjoy!


by Billy Collins

All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,

and after this one just a dozen

to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,

then only ten more left like rows of beans.

How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan

and insist the iambic bongos must be played

and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,

one for every station of the cross.

But hang on here while we make the turn

into the final six where all will be resolved,

where longing and heartache will find an end,

where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,

take off those crazy medieval tights,

blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.

Sample illumination: Wordsworth
external image msword.png The Daffodils.doc
sample illumination : Eurydice by H.D.
see this "qwiki" of sonnet 18
QR codes and poetry You need a QR reader (free app) on your phone and a site to make the codes (I use Maestro, free). Ask me if you want to try it.

Shakespeare's new words



1. open a word doc and type your sonnet into the doc DOUBLE SPACED, so you can work on it. Proofread and save, but do not close.

2. Each time you work on the sonnet, saveit to your eLocker in Studywiz when you are done until it is time to post it to the Gallery.

3. annotate your sonnet to prepare for your explication.your handout is included here for convenience.


Start “illuminating” your sonnet by annotating it with 8-10 comments and live (hyperlinks) links.

Links must include

at least five notes on five literary devices used

two pictures or videos from images created by poem. Not just random

also check wylio, creativecommons, googleimages, advanced search in google, your personal photo files from flickr, picasa etc


SUGGESTIONS for what the other 3-5 links could include.......

~use the COMMENT function under INSERT in the Word toolbar if you want to explain the metaphor, allusion, simile, etc.

~cultural references—something British that we don’t recognize

~add any definitions that might be needed by other readers (dictionary)

~add usage notes for the elizabethan language

~explain mechanics or grammar that is difficult

~note adherence (or lack of) to sonnet meter, rhyme scheme, etc


*Note that the twist can come as a change in style of theme, concept too, not just a word "marker"

*Look up difficult words: check for older meanings in the dictionary (ME, MF, Latin, Greek)

*feel free to use my two-volume OED in the classroom. Use in the Tech Center

*Hints for difficult syntax: line by line, sentence by sentence, quatrain by quatrain

*Note any words capitalized unexpectedly: decide why. Is it significant? (Usually is.)

4. When you are done with your annotation, paraphrase your sonnet into contemporary English. Resource:

5. Add 3-5 sentences underneath the sonnet showing that this sonnet is still worthy of study, or relate it to your life or contemporary experience—however you can—past present future. SAVE.

6. Then post to the STUDYWIZ GALLERY with your class name on it. Post with your name at top with number of sonnet. SAVE.

Pages you might want to check for help: - poetry terms - dictionary

elizabethan online dictionary for those pesky renaissance forms