Benchmark Assessment (Cold Write)

What Makes a Sonnet a Sonnet?

Work Time

Review the parts of a sonnet with your teacher. Pay special attention to how Shakespeare wraps his lines; he doesn’t just finish a thought at the end of each line. This is called “enjambment” and is used often in poetry of all kinds.

Next, take a look at five more modern sonnets by Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Amy Lowell.

  • How do they differ from those of Shakespeare?
  • Which do you like better, and why?
  • Is the language of Shakespeare more difficult?
  • What kinds of topics might sonnets be written about?

Open Notebook

Share your list of topics with your classmates, and see what they’ve come up with.