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Crown of sonnets

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Sonnet studies
Main

Sonnet
Iambic pentameter
Octave • Sestet
Quatrain • Couplet
Volta
Sonnet writers

Forms

Petrarchan sonnet
Spenserian sonnet
Shakespearean sonnet
Petrarch's and Shakespeare's sonnets

Variations

Quatorzain
Caudate sonnet • Curtal sonnet
Demi-sonnet • Pushkin sonnet

Groups

Crown of sonnets • Sonnet cycle
Sonnet redoublé
Sonnet sequence

How to ...

Write a sonnet
Write a sonnet like Shakespeare

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A crown of sonnets or sonnet corona is a sequence of sonnets, usually addressed to some one person, and/or concerned with a single theme.

Each of the sonnets explores one aspect of the theme, and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line, and by having its final line be the first line of the succeeding sonnet.

With seven sonnets, the first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet, thereby bringing the sequence to a close. Famous examples include John Donne's Corona (Crown) and Lady Mary Wroth's A Crown of Sonnets Dedicated to Love.

An advanced form of crown of sonnets is also called a sonnet redoublé or heroic crown, comprising fifteen sonnets, in which the sonnets are linked as described above, but the final binding sonnet is made up of all the first lines of the preceding fourteen, in order. This form was invented by the Siena Academy, which was formed in 1460, but there are no existing crowns of sonnets written by them. The form was first described by Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni in his work L'Istoria della volgar poesia (History of Folk Poetry), published in Venice, 1731 and later by P.G. Bisso in his Introduzione alla volgar poesia (Introduction to Folk Poetry), published in Venice, 1794. The first known crown of sonnets was written by Slovenian romantic poet France Prešeren in his famous Sonetni venec (generally translated as "Wreath of Sonnets"), which was enriched with acrostic in the master sonnet. Prešeren's crown of sonnets was translated into Russian in 1889, which had great influence on many poets, including Valery Bryusov. Jaroslav Seifert wrote his sentimental Věnec sonetů (A Wreath of Sonnets) in this form about Prague, with an authorized translation by Jan Křesadlo, who also composed his own emigre riposte in the same format, as well as writing several other sonnet cycles.

The Bulgarian poet Venko Markovski wrote and published more than 100 crowns of sonnets, which also contained acrostics dedicated to various historical figures.

The children's book A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson also follows the form of a heroic crown of sonnets.[1] Another well-known and frequent author of contemporary crowns of sonnets is Marilyn Hacker. Notable crowns of sonnets have recently been published by Linda Beirds, Andrea Carter Brown, Robert Darling, Moira Egan, Jenny Factor, Andrei Krylov, Julie Fay, Marie Ponsot, Patricia Smith, Marilyn Taylor, Natasha Trethewey, David Trinidad, and Kathrine Varnes.

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