Course Description

The sonnet: 

  • "A monument of praise, a field of play, a chamber of sudden change." Sonneteers "cross boundaries of time, style, religion, nationality, and ethnic identity." (Levin, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. pgs. xxxvii, xxxix).
  • In this class, we will read sonnets from the sonnet tradition in English, five hundred years of wonerful lyric poetry, including sonnets by Shakespeare, Keats, Hopkins, Yeats, Frost, Brooks, Rich, Collins, and more. 
  • We will explore how each poet  writes within and against the conventions of the form, and how each poet uses imagery, metaphor, passion, reason, rhyme, and meter to engage minds and overwhelm our hearts.


Text: The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English. ed. Phillis Levin. Penguin Books, 2001.   


Format: Class members will lead discussions about sonnets suggested by the coordinators. Discussion leaders will provide brief historical context and a few biographical details  about the poet, plus questions to help us delve into the selected poems.        


Coordinators: Linda Shamoon, Chris Rose, Karen Stein have coordinated two popular LLC poetry courses. Chris initiated LLC’s popular poetry discussion group at Providence’s Rochambeau Library. Linda and Karen are retired URI professors; Karen taught American literature and Women’s Studies; Linda taught writing and rhetoric. More about the Coordinators.


© Linda K. Shamoon 2021