A Crown of Heroic Sonnets

Poetry Contest
This is the fourth year I have been hosting a Crown of Heroic Sonnets contest. I find the form absolutely enticing, and also one of the most difficult forms in poetry today. I just love challenges, as many of you do, and believe, the Crown of Heroic Sonnets is an achievement that elevates your poetry to a next level.

So, for those serious poets who want to try it again, and for those who haven't yet tried their hand at the form, here it is:

What exactly is the Crown of Heroic sonnets?

The Crown of heroic sonnets is a sequence of seven heroic sonnets usually addressed to one person. It is concerned with a single theme and each sonnet explores a different aspect of the theme and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line and by having its final line be the first line of the succeeding sonnet.

The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet thereby bringing the sequence to a close.


The Crown consists of seven Heroic sonnets. What is a Heroic sonnet?

A Heroic Sonnet is an iambic pentameter based poem that adds a heroic couplet to either two Sicilian octave stanzas or four Sicilian quatrain stanzas. In other words, it's eighteen lines of iambic pentameter broken into three or five parts with the last part being a couplet. The rhyme scheme has usually been a,b,a,b,a,b,a,b - c,d,c,d,c,d,c,d - e,e OR a,b,a,b - c,d,c,d - e,f,e,f - g,h,g,h - i,i.

Grand Final
(Heroic Sonnet)

A packed arena- thousands watch the fight
these revered gladiators now unfold;
the sun is warm, it is still early night
as the combatants enter; eyes behold

bold rippling muscles- minds are set to win.
Their dedication's tangible, it thrills
spectators' tribal instincts- let's begin!
The first hit is a winner, shows off skills

honed fine in years of agonizing pain-
the sculpted bodies, bronzed like statued gods,
advance, retreat; strike fast- and hit again.
When all seems lost- advantage changes odds,

the crowd is yelling fiercely, urging on
two tired fighters, on the bright green field;
the sun has set- the early bets foregone,
all eyes are riveted on who will yield.

The final break is there, the last ball's served-
it is a top-spin lob- in beauty curved.

Copyright Leny Roovers
30-1-2005


An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. We could write the rhythm like this:
da DUM

A line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:
da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM


This / IS / my / SOUL'S / con / CEP / tion / OF / a / PRAISE
da / DUM / da / DUM / da / DUM / da / DUM / da / DUM

The higher entry fee is due to the difficulty and magnitude of this challenge.

Remember, each of the 7 heroic sonnets in the Crown of Heroic Sonnets consists of 18 lines - two octaves and a couplet, or 4 quatrains and a couplet (not 14 lines as in a regular sonnet)


And this is my own rendition of the form:

STAGES OF LOVE

I.

When child is born, love starts with mother's milk
The nurturing and care, a cherub's bliss
Your cheeks are pink and skin as soft as silk,
baptized with tears of joy and mother's kiss.
The rays of sun bring glow upon your face
awakening the worldly joys and fire
Sweet angel, may the finest Brussels lace
protect you from the harm of fortune's ire.

The infancy now gone, you start to talk,
Your tongue caressing vowels on the sly
On playground lawn you learn a firmer walk,
your sparkling laugh sends bubbles to the sky.
You blossom every day, a cherry tree
The angulars give room to rounder form
Delight to mom and dad, your friends and me
In tender hearts you start to cause a storm.

From duckling to a swan of grace and flair
Those happy days, devoid of grief or care.

II.

Those happy days, devoid of grief or care,
the adolescence, what a rampant lot -
Your dreams begin to drift where eagles dare,
the tantrums set propriety at naught.
You like to play with wholesome pink-cheeked girl
The seeds of love are sown, the soul is doomed,
your neighbor's daughter, with the bobbing curls
To you she is the Eden rose in bloom.

How innocent those games with hidden fires
Two souls akin, the world a blank page still
But cunning little goblins called desire
are creeping in your loins, and blood they chill.
You start to get in trouble more and more
The world's your oyster, gladiator, Mars
The depths of earth determined to explore
or flying in your spaceship to the stars.

Fate dumps you or it drops its parachute
The fortune fireworks cracking their salute.

III.

The fortune fireworks cracking their salute.
Your oats are wild, your demons not at bay
Your sweetheart loves the soft bells of your flute
and prays to Virgin that you never stray.
The passion's flow consumes, the air is filled
with longing too delicious to resist
The goblet with the potion never chilled
on nightstand, is your reason to exist.

Two lovers spent by lust, in sweet denial,
they drink from goblet full of perfect lies
Though lethal could be love's endangered vial
and painful its heartbreaking brisk good-byes.
Yet lovers drink the madness to the brim,
they bear their sweet illusions jaded cross
Oh love, you are the niche of the extreme
and fatal is your devastating loss.

How sharp you are, the thorns of perfect rose
Oh, love's best part is poetry, not prose...

IV.

Oh, love's best part is poetry, not prose
A youth becomes a man and he's in love
with golden haired abundant perfect rose
The angels seem to smile at him above.
Alas, she toys with his illusive heart,
hers given to another long ago
His mind ablaze, his soul is torn apart,
unable to withstand the crushing blow.

Those sleepless horrid nights on crumpled sheets
His tear ducts dry from constant overuse
A nagging word tears up his brain - deceit!
The Don Quixote's windmills, it's no use.
Decision's made, no tears, the dice is cast.
He challenges his rival to a duel
His inner storms, his rage are unsurpassed
He curses her for being dense and cruel.

The weapon chosen - pistol over sword
The rival's death would be his sweet reward.

V.

The rival's death would be his sweet reward.
Comes sunrise - forest ground is white with snow
The death fight for a myth they both adored
There is one truth that two opponents know -
she wasn't worth it - but it is too late.
Their weapons raised and leveled at the wrist
The winter trees foresee the scream of fate,
A deadly smoke is breaking sunrise mist.

The pistol shot sends echo to the sky
One duelist dead, the other clings to life.
The woods will always hear a woman's cry
that pierced the morning stillness like a knife
The snowy forest ground is full of blood
of a deluded youth who paid the price;
The fallacy of love killed in the bud
for shallow virgin with a heart of ice.

Oh love, you're nothing but a big sweet lie
To women's viles the dead man said good-bye.

VI.

To women's viles the dead man said good-bye
The debt of honor paid, but what a cost!
Cold January turned to warm July
A life, so innocent, forever lost.
Our duelist doomed to many years abroad
The dice of fortune, once again, are tossed
Oh, woman's heart, who said you never lie?
The lives, the minds irrevocably lost.

Our star crossed lover is exiled to Rome
Forlorn and bitter, he denounced all hope
Alone, so many miles away from home
He feels he's near the end of his thin rope.
Our lovely maiden cried for three long months
the loss of her beloved in the duel;
A handsome hussar took her off her trance
and whisked away his weeping army jewel.

I ask you - what is life? A game of chance
The gamble of a love's gone-wrong romance.

VII.

The gamble of a love's gone-wrong romance.
What happened to our hero? He survived
the deadly blow of his forlorn romance
Time's known to be best healer; fates contrived
to find another for his love and lust -
A flaming red haired widow his consort;
Two broken hearts, two raging fires combust
His suffering at end, she holds his court.

On bended knee he asked her for her hand
At last he knew the treasure that was real -
He searched forever for the promised land
and finally, fate ended his ordeal.
The church bells echoed angels' gentle voice
Bride's gown was made of fine Venetian lace,
Their gentle daughter born, they named her Joyce
With charming dimples on her baby face.

Her cheeks were pink, and hair as soft as silk
When child is born, love starts with mother's milk.




The contest winner will win half of the prize pool which is based on the number of entries. The second and third place winners will each share the remaining prize pool. The prize pool is currently 375.00 member dollars. There are only 3 spots still open. If all open spots are used the prize pool will be 450.00 member dollars. In this contest at least 2 submissions must be made for the vote to begin.

Deadline: Contest is closed. Deadline was Monday, March 24, 2014.



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Created by Eternal Muse
Monitored by Eternal Muse This contest has ended. But there are over 50 other contests that you can enter. Click here to view our contest listing. Please click here to view the results of this contest.

This contest is open to all members. Past contest winners can join the contest. A voting booth will be created shortly after the deadline is reached. At that time all participants will be contacted so they can vote.

The voting booth will include this summary of the contest:

    Write a Crown of Heroic Sonnets


If you plan to write for this contest reserve a spot. There are a limited number of entries. A vote by writers will determine the winner. The decision is final. All members that submit a work are encouraged to vote. One entry per person. New entries to the site only. If you already posted a work on FanStory.com that work is not eligible for a contest.

Click the link above to submit your entry. Members with reservations can use the link provided in their contest profile. Members may not request votes, mention contest entries, or notify potential voters of the vote by private message or other means as specified in the contest terms. The site automatically checks for this form of communication. A break in the contest terms will result in the cancellation of the account. Reserve Your Spot.

Deadline: Monday, March 24, 2014 at 11:59pm EST.

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