Writing an Italian Sonnet - Ode to a Pizza

Wood Fired Pizza from the oven, what a tasty dish!

The italian sonnet format

The original "Italian/Petrarchan" style consists of an octet (eight lines) followed by a sestet (six lines). Each line is measured by iambic pentameter which is 10 syllables. The stress is supposed to be on every second syllable like 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10.

The first octet is supposed to introduce a conflict and the sestet is supposed to resolve that conflict.

The rhyme scheme is "a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a/c-d-e-c-d-e." Which means that the end of all the "a" lines are supposed to rhyme with each other, the end of all the "b" lines rhyme with each other, then the end of all the "c" lines with each other, the end of all the "d" lines with each other and finally, the end of all the "e" lines rhyme with each other.

This may be easier to visualize on the rhyming scheme for the octet lines:

  1. rhyme a
  2. rhyme b
  3. rhyme b
  4. rhyme a
  5. rhyme a
  6. rhyme b
  7. rhyme b
  8. rhyme a

For the sestet lines:

  1. rhyme c
  2. rhyme d
  3. rhyme e
  4. rhyme c
  5. rhyme d
  6. rhyme e

Summary of Sonnet Writing

All sonnets, whether Italian, Shakespearean or Spenserian should consist of the overall feel of a "little song" within the basic structure of the poem.

  • the rhythm of iambic pentameter
  • a great story told in 14 lines
  • a rhyming pattern that flows
  • excellent imagery including some simile (this is like that), metaphor (direct comparisons), or other types of imagery.

This is a lot to deal with just for one poem. But when it all comes together, it's pretty amazing!

Ode to a Pizza by L. A. Cargill

(Octet)

I tell you, nothing beats a pizza when

you're hungry as a bear. It makes your day

a brighter place to see a mushroom lay

upon a red and spicy dough. It's been

inside the oven hot, a feast for men

and women. A crispy crust, we will say,

or maybe thick and pan full. Pray for bay

leaves, garlic, sauce, the cheese and meat. What sin!

(Sestet)

But don't you know the pleasures that you find

tonight while on the town you've wined and dined

on spicy peperoni, what a dish!

A moment of regret. A backward wish.

A pizza in your stomach is unkind.

You should have had an egg and toast, or fish!

Source

Dear Readers

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Lela

© 2011 Austinstar

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Comments - What's your favorite poem? or pizza? 22 comments

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Lela - very cool! I tried to sing it - and you made me hungry for pizza! Sin or no:). I really appreciate the time you've taken to explain the awesome poem so that I can try to do one myself!

I love it for the musical relation. I can understand what you mean in the explanation! That's an extra bonus.

I would rather have had a pizza than the pork tenderloin I made tonight! Yum!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Ok, now you'd better write one. Cause I'm almost out of poems over here.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I'm already trying to figure out my topic! I love poetry and I love rules. I think it's why I love English - lots of rules. Everyone has written instructions and everyone is supposed to do it the same way - and I have to understand rules or I couldn't break them! Ha!

Fun! So many ideas are coming to mind.....!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Pizza...the ultimate American comfort food.

(Yeah, I know the Italians claim pizzas as their idea, but you know how they lie!)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Those crazy Eyetalians! I tell you whut. Ever had a Texas Chili Pizza?


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

I used to go to a restaurant where they served a burger called "The Diet Buster". Your poem is a "Diet Buster" as well.

Keep up the good work.


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I really was trying to figure out how you could introduce conflict when talking about pizza... I mean... it's pizza... but you sung it out on paper so beautifully. Which makes me think... where is the video of this... la la la la - pizza (excuse my tone deafness my head is stuffy)

Seriously though - this was very entertaining. And on top of it, I learned the proper way to write a sonnet. I might have to try one of these.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

CA - the diet buster is what I want to eat every single day!

BBG - I am sooo conflicted when I eat a pizza. Apparently, the crust is the only thing you shouldn't eat. Almost all of the rest of it is actually good for you. But only in moderation, of course.

My stomach is a food digesting machine. I rarely get heartburn, I can eat anything short of rusty nails. But unfortunately, every calorie gets stored as fat because my body loves to hang on to them. Dumb body.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

I found the explanation of the Italian/Petrarchan style very interesting. I think it made reading the poetry more deliberate, and now I'm very hungry for pizza! Oh, a pizza in my stomach is never unkind!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Well, Stephanie, that would have ruined the conflict. I know some people who do get tummy upset from pizza. Poor creatures. I have never experienced pizza problems myself.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

The only pizza problem I have, Lela, is when the last piece is gone. Have to share Yogi Berra's story with you. He ordered a pizza and when asked if he would like it cut into 8 pieces, said no, cut it into six pieces. I can't eat eight.

Thanks for the Italian sonnet rhyming scheme - you did a very credible job with your sonnet creation.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yogi had so much wisdom stuck up there in the old noggin. Didn't he? I wonder if that same kind of portion control applies to chocolate?


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I like a cheese or veggie pizza and I really enjoyed your poem and I seriously want a pizza now. Ugh. Voted UP:)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Homemade pizza can be very good for you. So make some!


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Austin...

I understand you to be the originator of the sonnet trend with this delicious slice of poetry pizza pie?

Now that I have read it...I understand the hoopla...(Realhousewife is keeping it real).

I thank you for the good read and hunger pains.

I shall reciprocate with a follow...enough Up buttons to fill a ...um...button drawer and (with your permission)...a link to this gem from my latest story.

It's very nice to meet you Austinstar.

Thomas


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines

Lela,

This is really cool! I enjoyed that! I'm going to show it to my daughter who loves pizza!!!

Rated up and awesome!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Well, really, pizza is nature's perfect food, right?


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Yum! I have pizza in the oven!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

What are you having for New Year's dinner? We are having BBQ chicken, spicey crackers, rice, veggies, black eyed peas, Shiner Bock Beer (for Bob) and whatever everyone else brings! Pizza does sound delish though.


Danielle Farrow profile image

Danielle Farrow 3 years ago from Scotland, UK

Fun poem - thank you!

Maybe worth mentioning that Petrarchan sonnets are not in iambic pentameter in Italian - the rhythm is suited to English and hence tends to be (though is not always) the way in which Petrarch's sonnets are translated, but your opening does make it seem as if the originals were also ten syllables, rather than eleven.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

True, sorry about that. I have minors in English/Spanish and major in Journalism. I'm easily confused. The thing that really bothers me is that poetry is difficult to write well and difficult (if not downright boring) to read and one still cannot make a living from it.

Oh well.


Danielle Farrow profile image

Danielle Farrow 3 years ago from Scotland, UK

Very hard to make a living at any of the creative arts, yes, and craft is very much a part of such pursuits, along with the inspiration, but I think can be enjoyed too.

So long as you have your writing in your life, in whatever fashion, you are richer than many with more money.

All the very best!

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    Austinstar profile image

    Austinstar1,080 Followers
    193 Articles

    Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.



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