Module 10: Discussion Forum: Closed Forms
Instructions: This discussion requires a more developed response. Each discussion response should be at least 100 words. Respond to TWO of the discussion posts of your peers. Your responses must be at least 50 words.
Read “A Note on Form”
Examine one of the following sonnets. In general, a sonnet is a 14-line poem. Review the terms from Chapter 21: Closed-Form, “The Sonnet” (610-613) and use the Terms for Review on page 621 in your response. Explain how the sonnet’s two parts combine to create a total effect neither part could achieve alone by identifying the turning point. Paraphrase what each of the poem’s two sections says and describe how the poem as a whole reconciles the two contrasting parts. Paraphrase means to put the gist of the poem in your own words. It should equal the length of the poem. Introduce and cite the lines correctly.
An English sonnet has three quatrains and a couplet. It has the following rhyme scheme but there may be variations: abab cdcd efef gg. The “turning point” comes before the couplet so the “two parts” before and after the couplet.
An Italian sonnet as an octave and a sestet. It has the following rhyme scheme but there may be variations: abbaabba cdcdcdcd. It is easy to identify the “turning point” because it is located between the octave and the sestet, which are the “two parts.”
Claude McKay, “The Harlem Dancer” (823)
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” (611)
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur” (584)
William Wordsworth, “The world is too much with us” (654)
John Keats, “When I have fears that I may cease to be” (816)
Review the sample response, as well as the annotation of Owen’s sonnet “Anthem for Doomed Youth” in the Cheat Sheet for Poetry. (Now is a good time to review it.) Respond to two responses of your peers.
Closed Form: Sample Response
Belinda Mark (Spring 2014)
The sonnet “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the ways” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is a love poem that is 14 lines in length and is written in iambic pentameter. It is a Petrarchan sonnet (Italian sonnet), and follows the rhyme scheme abba abba (1-8) in the octave, and then cdcdcd (9-14) in the sestet. This organization of lines helps arrange Browning’s thoughts into two parts. The octave describes an exaggerrated, over-the-top description of love; for instance, there is indication that just as we need the very basic things in life to survive so she considers love just as basic of a need from the person she desires: “I love thee to the level of every day’s / most quiet need” (5-6). Then at the turning point in line nine she switches to the actual theme of the poem for the remaining six lines. These remaining six lines, or sestet, proclaim that true love is not earthly but rather an eternal quality that lasts long after death. There are no gender references indicated in the poem and this ambiguity makes “How Do I love Thee?” a love poem for anyone. That said, there is a feminine and personal quality that makes you wonder if Browning had someone she loved in mind when it was crafted.
As a side note, Elizabeth Barrett Browning did have someone in mind when she wrote the poem. The poem was published in Sonnets from the Portuguese in 1850; the sonnets were written for Robert Browning during 1845-46. He was also a poet and later became her husband. In fact, she eloped with him without her father’s consent and left for Europe where her health improved dramatically and she later had a son. During her lifetime, she was the more popular poet. Robert Browning is a prolific poet as well and invented the dramatic monologue, such as the one you read earlier entitled “The Last Duchess.” Both individuals are considered two of the best poets in the Victorian period of literature.
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