Girl reading a book from

Sylvia's Sonnets cover of Kindle ebook


I first started writing sonnets for my wife in 1997. Since then I have written sonnets for various occasions such as her birthday, Christmas/New Year, Valentine's Day and  our wedding anniversary.    


The sonnet is a particularly intriguing form of poetry and through the ages has been mainly associated with the theme of love. I think it is an ideal way to express your deepest feelings in writing.   


Accompanying each sonnet are some notes either about the poem itself or about the occasion that prompted it and the way I was thinking at the time.   


A sonnet is a poem of 14 lines of 10 syllables (in English) with rhymes arranged according to one or other definite schemes. The main sonnet forms are the Petrarchan (named after Francesco Petrarca, 1304-74) and the Elizabethan. The Petrarchan sonnet has an octave (the first eight lines) that rhymes a b b a a b b a followed by two or three other rhymes in the sestet (the remaining six lines). In its classical form there should be a pause in the thought after the octave. This is the form in which I write although like other English imitators of the form I also often bend or break the rules. Milton and Wordsworth are two of the most famous poets who wrote in this form.  


The other major sonnet form, the Elizabethan, was introduced to England by Wyatt and developed by Surrey and was used extensively in the sonnets of Shakespeare, Sidney, Daniel and Spenser. Mostly the theme in these sonnets is love. The Elizabethan sonnet rhymes a b a b c d c d e f e f g g.


D. G. Rosetti, E. B. Browning, Keats and Yeats and my favourite poet, John Donne, have all used the sonnet form successfully and in many different ways.


I like the difficult structure of the sonnet, particularly the Petrarchan sonnet where you can only have two rhymes for the first eight lines, as it helps to structure my thoughts. At the same time I like to bend the rules and push the form to the limits. In this little collection you will find examples where I produce sonnets along classic Petrarchan lines; there are others where you might think I have broken the rules completely! The main thing is for you to enjoy the sonnets.