The sonnet, from the Italian sonetto meaning “little song,” is one of the better-known forms of poetry.
Made famous by the Italian writer Petrarch, the traditional sonnet consists of fourteen lines divided into two stanzas of eight and six lines each. There is no definitive structure or rhyme scheme of the sonnet, because over time different writers have given it their own poetic spin.
Particularly famous is the Shakespearean sonnet, made up of three quatrains and a closing couplet. Perhaps the most recognizable is Sonnet 18, which begins “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? / Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”