So next week I’ll at long last be heading in to a classroom to talk about Shakespeare. In this particular instance we’re talking about the sonnets, and I’m busy gathering material that I can use.
I’ve been informed by the teacher that, in preparation for the lesson, they “studied” Sonnet 29. That is, she read and paraphrased it to them. They also read Sonnet 18. This was done mostly as a lesson in iambic pentameter.
Here’s my question to you, loyal readers. What are the best sonnets I can use for examples in class? We’ll be doing several games involving filling in blanks and shuffling words so we’ll need a handful of sonnets to work with that the kids don’t already know.
1) The iambic pentameter should be about as straightforward as it can be. If we’re trying to get across five feet of baDUM baDUM baDUM baDUM baDUM and giving them puzzles where they need to put that meter back into place it won’t be fair to throw in too many twists.
2) Family friendly. I love #130 as an example, just not sure what to do with “breasts are dun” yet. Most likely going to come through as “flesh is dun” just so I can use it, but I’d rather have examples I don’t have to mess with.
3) Not too archaic. If the kids need to be going to the glossary (me) for every single line, they’re never going to understand it.
I’d like to use Sonnet 12, as an example. I think the imagery is something they could grasp, the meter is straightforward, and I don’t think I have to worry too much about the family friendliness of a word like “breed”.
Who’s got some help for me? Carl Atkins, you out there? You always seem to have a few sonnets to rattle off when we bring up the topic. What’s that one about thinking about his beloved and he can’t sleep? That’s a good one.