I keep trying to write my wife a Shakespearean sonnet, but I can't even write the first quatrain.

I keep trying to write my wife a Shakespearean sonnet, but I can't even write the first quatrain. The iambs are never right. Are there any tricks or strategies for writing in iambic pentameter? Any books that teach you how to start and structure your sentences? I had hoped to have a handful of poems ready for when she gives birth to our first this summer, but so far I have nothing. Shamefully, I even asked ChatGPT to help, but the results were so shit and lacking soul that I had to drop that method.

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  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    …Do you love her?

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      How is that relevant to the question at hand?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        its very important

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >married normies visit this place

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      They're probably both fat trans autists

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Stop being such an incel

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymouṡ

    >Are there any tricks or strategies for writing in iambic pentameter?

    Read lots of it. The stricter the better. Twelve examples:

    — Sonnet 73, Shakespeare
    That time of year thou may'st in me behold
    When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang
    Upon the boughs that shake against the cold —
    Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

    — Elegy in a Country Churchyard (Gray)
    The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
    The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
    The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
    And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

    — The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (tr. Fitzgerald)
    The moving finger writes, and having writ
    Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
    Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

    — To Penshurst (Jonson)
    Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show,
    Of touch or marble; nor canst boast a row
    Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold...

    — Essay On Man (Pope)
    Two principles in human nature reign;
    Self-love, to urge, and reason, to restrain;
    Nor this a good, nor that a bad we call,
    Each works its end, to move or govern all...

    — The Deserted Village (Goldsmith)
    How often have I paused on every charm,
    The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
    The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
    The decent church that topp'd the neighbouring hill,
    The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
    For talking age and whispering lovers made!

    — Aubade (Larkin)
    I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.

    — Lines For A Book (Gunn)
    I think of those exclusive by their action,
    For whom mere thought could be no satisfaction —
    The atheletes lying under tons of dirt,
    Or standing gelded so they cannot hurt
    The pale curators and the families
    By calling up disturbing images.

    — Ode to Autumn (Keats)
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies...

    — Strange Meeting (Owen)
    It seemed that out of battle I escaped
    Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
    Through granites which titanic wars had groined.

    — Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey (Wordsworth)
    And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
    With many recognitions dim and faint,
    And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
    The picture of the mind revives again:
    While here I stand, not only with the sense
    Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
    That in this moment there is life and food
    For future years.

    — Ulysses (Tennyson)
    The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
    The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
    Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
    'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
    Push off, and sitting well in order smite
    The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
    Of all the western stars, until I die.

    Then do it yourself. Force your interior monologue into blank verse. It's just practice, like anything else.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      The only real way is to read lots of poetry and keep practising. The rhythm starts to get under your skin. This guy is right, and has some good examples:

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymouṡ

    >Shakespearean sonnet

    The key with a sonnet is to have a sonnet-sized and sonnet-shaped thought. Sonnets generally have to have a neat little argument. Doesn't have to be too abstruse but it has to be there.

    "A? Yes, seems so — but no! B!"
    is a common one. Sonnets split 8-6 fit this.

    "A, because B, C, and D! See what I mean!? A!"
    is another one. Shakespeare 4-4-4-2 fits this more naturally.

    As far as tone goes, the big error most people make is sounding too olde worlde and artificial. If you try to sound like Shakespeare, it will probably be cringe, because a) you aren't Shakespeare and b) this isn’t the 1590s.

    You should try above all to sound natural. Read as many sonnets as you can, especially modern ones.

    Most poets wrote at least a few sonnets:

    W. B. Yeats — Leda and the Swan
    Robert Graves — Spoils (unrhymed, but def. a sonnet)
    Robert Frost — On A Tree Fallen Across The Road, Silken Tent, Acquainted With The Night, etc
    Tennyson — The Kraken
    Dylan Thomas — Among Those Killed In The Dawn Raid Was A Man Aged A Hundred
    Philip Larkin — Failure, Neurotics, etc
    Keats — Chapman’s Homer
    G. M. Hopkins — God’s Grandeur
    Wilfred Owen — Anthem for Doomed Youth
    Sylvia Plath — Mayflower, Conversation Among The Ruins
    Seamus Heaney — The Skylight, etc
    P. B. Shelley — Ozymandius
    Robinson Jeffers — Love The Wild Swan, Shiva, etc

    Some wrote a lot:

    John Berryman — Berryman's Sonnets
    W. H. Auden — Sonnets From China, The Quest, etc
    Wordsworth — Lines on Westminster Bridge, etc
    e. e. cummings

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Get the frick out

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymouṡ

    >but I can't even write the first quatrain
    This suggests you're trying to write it in order. Well, you might want to write the first line first. But the LAST line is at least as likely to be the first one you fix. It's like writing a mystery or something — start with the climax and work out how to get there.

    Also, it can be fine to just write the thing out in prose first and then get it into rhyme and meter. Get the large-scale rhythm right (does it have a turn? does it build steadily, or change direction? etc), and only then worry about making it go tumty tumty and looking for a rhyme for BABY.

    Talking of people getting the tone wrong — amateur sonneteers tend to be cringe for two other big reasons:

    — They're too explicit about the big things. In your case for example it's a given that:
    * You're excited about this BABY
    * You hope things go well
    * You think your wife did / is doing a fine job creating said BABY

    So you don't want to go anywhere near this. Pick some TANGENTIAL thing and use it to imply the big things.

    — They reach for what they think is "poetic" subject-matter rather than REAL THINGS.
    You need to use stuff from real life. That's why they say, "Writing is easy. Just open a vein and get on with it."

    If all else fails, and you have the material but the syllables won't cooperate, post it here. If you're lucky I'll be online and I'll make it go tumty tumty and find a good rhyme for BABY.

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >ChatGPT, write me a Shakespearean sonnet. Make sure the word 'bosoms' is in it twelve times

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Upon a field where gentle bosoms rise,
      'Neath sunlit skies, twelve bosoms sweetly swell.
      These bosoms fair, the envy of all eyes,
      In bosoms deep, a thousand secrets dwell.

      Each bosom's curve, more lovely than the last,
      Doth bosoms frame, in nature's perfect cast.
      Yet bosoms soft, against the harsh world braced,
      In bosoms bold, their tender stories traced.

      But bosoms tire of praise and empty stare,
      For bosoms seek a heart that truly cares.
      These bosoms twelve, in silent whisper share,
      The bosoms' sighs, the weight of worldly wares.

      So cherish well, each bosom's gentle dome,
      For bosoms twelve make any heart a home.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Has AI really come this far?

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          granted, its "the most advanced ai available" but yes, we've been trying to tell you people. ai is a tool that shows us the contours of our own perfection. It coalesces our ideal into a stark silhouette.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            That's incredible.

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    when homosexual rapist pedos lie in bed
    and count themselves abundant, head by head,

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    You just have to get the beat of iambic pentameter into your head. dun DUN dun DUN dun DUN dun DUN dun DUN. Say the words along to that beat and it will fall into place.

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