How to Write a Sonnet Corona

The sonnet is one of the best-known verse forms of all time. From Shakespearean sonnets to Petrarchan sonnets, these poems are the poems of love. A sonnet is always comprised of fourteen lines, a strict rhyming scheme and a theme. A sonnet can be used to ask a question, to provide an answer or to present a point of view. With its beautiful presentation, almost anyone will listen. If you love writing sonnets and think you have mastered the form, challenge yourself with a sonnet corona, or a crown of sonnets. Containing seven sonnets, the sonnet corona is the pinnacle of formalism.

Choose a theme. Just like a sonnet, a sonnet corona explores a particular theme. However, since you will need to write seven sonnets versus one stand-alone sonnet, the theme must be broad.

Outline the sonnets. In a sonnet corona, each sonnet usually addresses one aspect of the theme, so you must also be able to divide the theme into pieces. The individual sonnets must be ordered in a way that makes sense, whether chronologically or topically.

Pick a rhyme scheme. While there are a number of established rhyme schemes for sonnets, you can also invent your own. However, all seven sonnets in the sonnet corona should use the same theme.

Pick a meter. Shakespearean sonnets are famous for their iambic pentameter meter, but once again, you have a little flexibility with the rhythm you choose. In the end, every sonnet should at least have the same amount of syllables per line, even if the rhythm is not as strict.

Write the sonnets. The goal of any first draft of writing should always be to get your thoughts on paper. For a sonnet corona, penning the seven individual sonnets according to your decided rhythm and rhyme schemes is the first step. Worry about connecting the sonnets later.

Connect the sonnets. The sonnets in a sonnet corona are physically linked together, not just thematically linked. The last line of each sonnet is repeated as the first line of the next sonnet; the first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the last line of the last sonnet. In this way, the sonnets are bound together, completing the sequence of the sonnet corona.

Create a title. The title of the entire sonnet corona should address the theme; traditionally, the title would include the form of the poem, but you don't have to follow this rule. You can also title the individual sonnets, but this can break the flow of the piece as a whole.

  • Be prepared to revise. Whenever you attempt to write form poetry, you must be willing to change words, move lines around or start over completely. Exploring a theme while obeying strict rules is hard, and especially with a sonnet corona, changing one word or line can affect the rest of the poem. When it's time to connect the sonnets in the sonnet corona, don't get too attached to any aspect of the sonnets; you'll probably have to change it in the end.
  • Never give up. While a sonnet corona is a huge endeavor, it's not impossible. Be willing to walk away for a few days and come back with a clear mind. In the end, the finished product is a beautiful body of poetic work, all 98 lines of it.