UPDATE:I went ahead and finished the sonnets for each of the standard forms Gave a presentation on Sonnets for a class. Wrote this while working on the 8.5×11 tri-fold brochure on sonnets that I created as a handout. It has examples of all the major types of sonnets, covers all the basics of the sonnet form, offers some options and alternatives to traditional sonnets, and provides some exercises in sonnet writing. If you would be interested in obtaining a copy, e-mail email@example.com.
If you would like to write Petrarchan then
You’ll need to learn your rhyme and meter well.
Your prosody should flow and weave a spell
That’s wrapped round mind by page, round page by pen.
You cannot write one with an ear of tin,
Nor can your import be an empty shell;
Your sounds should ring as lovely as a bell
And after you have eight lines written, when
You start the sextet, change your mode of thought,
Bring some new aspect, or new thought to light,
And change your rhyme to indicate that fact.
And also, to be great, you really ought
(If you would like your poems to take flight)
To end with something that the octet lacked.
Shakespearean sonnets are a different beast.
Their rhyme scheme is much easier to master.
One benefit of this (and not the least)
Is you can write Shakespearean much faster.
Each quatrain builds upon the last and so
You move more slowly to your final lines,
Which lets your poem have the ebb and flow
Of sinusoidal functions and designs.
Can this form be as potent as the other,
Especially using female rhymes as I,
Or is it time to move on to another
And let this humble sonnet justly die?
Well, not before the ending couplets written,
And you with Shakespeare’s facil form are smitten.
Of Spencer’s sonnets it is justly said
That interwoven stanzas keep it tight,
Although I think it hardly fair to wed
One tercet to the next. It is not right
And has somehow a quite incestual feel
And makes it hard to build a proper plight.
If you will try them I’ll make you a deal
That if you think it just cannot be done
And tempting it zaps your poetic zeal,
I’ll let you write one that is merely fun,
Does not have all the import sonnets should,
Just hums along until you finally run
Out of babbling words and find you could,
With no more effort, have made something good.