Monday, February 24, 2014

"On the Sonnet" by John Keats and "Sonnet" by Billy Collins

                Keats describes an idea that in the sonnet the poet is bound to a structure, but they should make the poem original and be inside that structure. Collins instead believes that this poetic form is extremely easy and does not convey much by itself.
                Even though sonnets force the poet to write “dull rhymes [that] our English must be chained” (1), he believes sonnets help the poet find originality. He believes sonnets help us “inspect the lyre, weigh the stress of every chord, and see what may be gained” (7-8). He believes that through sonnets poets have a chance to find themselves. They can “see what may be gained” (8). He also describes that sonnets make “Misers of sound and syllable” (10). Sonnets lead poets to become selfish because they want the structure for themselves only. He also compares the poets who write sonnets to Midas who was a greedy king and was given the power of turning everything he touched into gold. Sonnets are comparable to Midas because the turn dull words into gold. He believes that sonnets make any old words beautiful. The structure of the sonnet does not allow the imagination of the poet to run free and it cover the words “with garlands of her own” (14).  Keats believe that sonnets disguise any words into something beautiful, but they do not allow the imagination to roam free.
                Collins believes that sonnets are extremely cliché and does not do anything to the poem. This differs from Keats who believes that sonnets can make any dull words beautiful. Collins shows that he thinks sonnets are easy by describing that 14 lines is all there is to it. He says you can get “Elizabethan and insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines” (5-7), but that is not necessary to create a sonnet. He says that in “the final six where are will be resolved” (10). This shows that Collins believes that sonnets are cliché and superficial because they are have a sweet, loving resolution at the end. He does not agree that every poem should have a happy ending. He does not end his sonnet this way. He instead mocks Petrarch for writing these sonnets about Laura. He says Petrarch should “put down his pen, [and] take off those crazy medieval tights” (13-14). He mocks Petrarch for continually writing cliché sonnets about his lover Laura.
                All in all the beliefs of Keats and Collins differ because Keats believes that sonnets mask the words and create something wonderful while Collins believes that sonnets cause words to become cliché with a happy ending. 

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