14 line poems

Mike Snider asked ‘why do people insist on calling any 14-line poem a sonnet?’ and KSM replied at length. His argument is very reasonable. If ‘it is next to impossible for any poetry-literate reader to see a fourteen-line poem and not think “sonnet”‘, it seems a pity, since that dilutes whatever interesting distinctiveness sonnets have, but if readers really do see sonnets everywhere that battle is already lost.


I slightly wonder

I slightly wonder whether it’s true;
If I saw a fourteen-line poem which
was laid out in a little block on the
page, with those sonnet-y proportions,
a little bit taller than it is wide —
shaped, in fact, like a sonnet, I would
probably make the connection; even
more so if there was a little gap

to mark a notional ‘volta’ and divide
the preambulary or thetical octet
from the conclusive or antithetical
sestet; and even if the implied
sonnetesque rhetorical structure
turned out to be just white space.


I’m not

on the other hand
so sure

faced with a poem which
meandered in an irregular


down the page,
I would
notice whether it had
fourteen lines.

If it occured to me it might,
I’d have to count them to check,


This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. this is stupid!!

  2. How sweet of you to notice.

  3. I hate your poems

  4. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. Insane…weird…

  6. Really?

  7. i hate u!

  8. Hi!

  9. i see where your geting at. i like that you’ve looked at it in this way. i do not like poetry very much… but i still think ppl sould learn to respect you, and stop being so neagtive.

  10. Thanks, nice of you to say so… most of the people who find this page through Google — presumably while trying to do homework — are just looking for something completely different than I intended. So, you know, *shrug*.

  11. Small children who cannot spell simple words should burn in the depths of hell.


  12. Harry, What is your last name? I chose your poem “I’m Not” for a school project, and I need your last name for the essay I’m writing on it

    P.S. If the author is not Harry, I apologize, but could you please give me his/her name. Thanks

  13. It’s not really a poem, but if you think you can find something interesting to say about it, good luck to you.

    My name is Harry Rutherford; any original work on this blog is available under a CC by-nc licence.

  14. Thank you Harry, I enjoyed reading it and I used it to prove a point to my teacher how a 14 line poem isn’t necessarily a sonnet.

    I memorized it and read it in class tomorrow. Thanks for your help.

  15. this doesnt look like sonnets are supossed too

    they are supposed to ryme

  16. *facepalm*

  17. i didnt even read your poems but they suck anyhow

  18. RAWR

  19. Yo harry your the man..screw these little kids who dont know anything about poetry…ur right about sonnets anyway not every 14 line poem should be called one.

    ps: dont let these kids get to u

  20. “ps: dont let these kids get to u”

    I don’t ;)

  21. I think these poems are not very good but you do make a good point about the 14 line poem not having to be a sonnet harry

    But there still not good poems

  22. They were never actually intended to be poems at all. Just a jokey way to make the point.

  23. Hello Harry. I think you have some very good points, and I am very disappointed in what some of these other people had to say. I doubt they ever heard the saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But hey, not everyone is mature enough to maintain common courtesy levels, eh?

  24. *shrug*

    It’s the internet. For better or worse, that’s often what it’s like.

  25. THIS IS DUM!!!!

  26. Hello Harry,
    im very disappointed what people may have said and thats coming from me!!! this has helped me in my year 10level work a lot and i got a a* it might not be a good poem but it produces a good point (and don’t say shrug!) and as adam said they don’t even have any courtesy but i just wanted to say thank you rally, billy

  27. Thanks Billy :)

  28. So what would a 14 line poem made up of 5 lines, 4 lines,5 lines be called?

  29. It’s hard to be sure without seeing the poem, but it doesn’t sound like any particular standard form which has a name.

  30. this made me giggle :)

  31. Haha :) people are sooooooo immature these days. If you don’t like something, you dont have to announce it to the whole world!

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