Dorn Sonnet

The Dorn Sonnet is a modern sonnet form created for a contest by the New Formalist group. It is unusual for having a couplet sandwiched between two sestets.

Form Type: Metrical
Origins: American
Creator: Alfred Dorn
Number of Lines: 14
abcabc ee aeaeae or abcabc dd efefef

Meter: Iambic Pentameter

1. The form is created from an Italian Sestet followed by a couplet followed by a Sicilian Sestet.

2. There are two rhyme schemes given, the first uses the same rhyme ending from the first sestet in the second sestet, these two schemes are:
a) a,b,c,a,b,c-d,d-a,e,a,e,a,e, this scheme is likely to be complex to fulfil in English a language poor in rhyme.
b) a,b,c,a,b,c-d,d-e,f,e,f,e,f, this is the easier of the two schemes to use in English.

3. The meter to be used is Iambic Pentameter.

4. The form divides into three sections. The first sets up the theme of the poem. The centre couplet provides the turn and sets up for the second section which provides a variation of the opening theme.

Example Poem:

Tell Me of Your Anger in Whispers (Dorn Sonnet)

Should you be moved to speak in anger dear
I ask that first you test your words alone.
If meaning’s very clear, then is it fair?
You’ll want to be assured your meaning’s clear.
If anger stems from blunder of my own
you know that I’ll be eager to repair.

Anytime, words can wait, while anger cools-
a deep breath, then converse when reason rules.

Perhaps, the words should simply disappear
Wait  now, until your anger can abate.
If I have stumbled I’ll get straight, don’t fear.
I’ll listen, think, and I’ll appreciate.
When we’re in bed just whisper in my ear.
I’ll rectify the works without debate.

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