Dinner Arty Conversation: The Sonnet

Ever feel like the only ignoramus in a roomful of culture aficionados? If you can’t be a buff, learn to bluff…


Need To Know

• A structured poetic form that English writers nabbed from the Italians; the sonnet gained widespread popularity in the 16th century. Generally speaking, the English or ‘Shakespearean’ sonnet consists of 14 lines in iambic pentameter, with alternate rhyming lines ending in a rhyming couplet. Sonnets fell from grace along with the Restoration and made their come-back with the French Revolution. Famous sonnets include Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day’, Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ and Heaney’s Glanmore Sonnets sequence.

Sound Clever

•“I wish people would shut up about Renaissance men – fuck the Petriarchy.”

Don’t Say

•“Whenever I sleep with someone, I pidge them a sonnet. I’m a one-night stanza kind of girl.”