This was the most difficult form to research. Most sites have the information wrong or incomplete. I am going to post what I have determined is the most likely true and accurate information available, and post links to those sites allowing me to draw that conclusion. My template below shows the most currently used form first, followed by the REAL Puskin Sonnet specifications. Note the REQUIREMENT for feminine rhyme. Usually ignored.
rhyming pattern: abab ccdd eff egg, (Where red letters are feminine rhyme)
The Pushkin or Onegin sonnet has a fascinating and flexible
profluence, which makes it suitable for the kind of modern
narrative use that Pushkin (and more recently Vikram Seth)
put it too. As someone with an interest in narrative poetry
I’ve been meaning to learn the form for a while, and this
experiment is a foray in that direction.
I think it illustrates nicely the role of the four-foot
iambic line over the five-foot line used in Petrarchan
and Shakespearean sonnets. The shorter line is bouncier,
tighter and generally draws the reader forward in ways
that the naturally punctuated pentameter does not.
The five-foot line is complete, and requires the reader
to push on over it.
The four-foot line leaves the breath wanting more.
This form was described as a “mettlesome creature” and A.D.P Briggs in his introduction to Evgeny Oneginstates that Pushkin invented a sonnet form which can go either way becoming Italian or English at the flick of a switch in mid stanza.
The Octave rhymes – a. b.a. b…..c.c. d.d…..
(Note) The first quatrain uses an alternating rhyme, and the second one, two couplets.
The sestet is where the change occurs and also expands the form. The original Pushkin sestet was either two tercets e.f.f…. e.g.g. and here you can see the Italian influence,
Below are the poems used in the template.
This formulaic stanza has some power
despite its tendency to come and go,
yielding up a soft and scented flower
with sufficient patience: watch it grow
into a bloom of rich diversity
without engaging in perversity.
It varies in division, oft askance
like some exotic cell’s mitotic dance
around the mysteries of generation
it splits into uneven halves or more,
a clash of fragments, three or even four,
that form into a long and bold narration.
Yet in the end it’s form that sets us free
to discipline our thoughts and clearly see.
This formulaic stanza’s power
although it tends to come and go,
will yield a soft and scented flower;
with patience you can watch it grow
into a bloom: diversity
in absence of perversity.
It divides so oft askance,
a single cell’s mitotic dance
in mysteries of generation
of two uneven halves or more,
a clash of fragments, three or four,
that form into a bold narration.
Yet by its form we are set free
to use our mind to clearly see.