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Word Count: 970
Joy Sonnet in a Random Universe by Helen Chasin The sonnet has been one of the most widely used and well-known verse forms for over four centuries Generally written in series but quite effective as individual poems they have celebrated love death and many other expressions of private personal feelings Traditionally sonnets are one of the most rigidly defined poem forms with a set pattern of breaks and rhymes following one of several conventions As time has passed however many poets have moved away from traditional rhyme and verse form and have gravitated toward free verse Although many poets are still drawn to the sonnet today the results are often found in a greatly altered form Nowhere is this more apparent than in Joy Sonnet in a Random Universe by Helen Chasin In order to better understand how this poem does or does not conform to convention let us first take a brief look at the traditional sonnet form The sonnet was first used in the Middle Ages in Italy and France It was brought to England and in the late 16th and early 17th it became a dominant verse form Sonnets are fourteen lines in length and are usually written in iambic pentameter They generally conform to one of two conventions in division and rhyme scheme the Italian sonnet or the English sonnet The typical Italian or Petrarchian sonnet is divided into two parts an octave eight line stanza followed by a sestet six line stanza each with a specific rhetorical slant the first stanza generally poses a question or problem which the second stanza answers or resolves The rhyme scheme is as follows octave abba abba sestet cdecde or cdcdcd The English or Shakespearean sonnet on the other hand uses four divisions three quatrains and a rhyming couplet As with the Italian sonnet a general progression is subject is followed a problem is posed
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