The sonnet remains a pure form, a delight to the ear and the eye. This selection dating back to the earliest does not disappoint. In my opinion the earlier ones are preferable as modernity fails to capture what I look for in a sonnet. Philistine I may be but my personal favourite is Charlotte Smith, all those in agreement raise their hands, or advise me as to why I am wrong.
The best sonnets by women in English
The sonnet form was Italian in origin, of course, but a host of English poets have made it their own: Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Auden, and many besides. But what is often overlooked is what female poets have done with the form. Indeed, the first ever sonnet sequence written in English was by a woman (see below). In this post we’ve gathered together ten of the greatest sonnets by female English poets.
Anne Locke, ‘My many sinnes in nomber are encreast’. Any list of the best sonnets by English women poets that strives for comprehensive historical coverage should begin here, with the largely forgotten figure of Anne Locke (c. 1530-c. 1590). As we discuss in our book about obscure and forgotten books, The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History, Locke was not only the first Englishwoman to write a…
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