There are many differences and similarities between Shakespeare’s poems and Berrigan’s poems in terms of form, structure, language, vocabulary and content. Some similarities found between these two poets are that they both use fourteen lines in their poems. Both poets want their audience to experience what they felt in their poems. Some of the vocabulary is also similar. Some differences between the two poets are Shakespeare’s poems all rhyme, where Berrigan’s poems do not rhyme. Berrigan uses early modern language in his poetry and Shakespeare uses old English. Shakespeare’s poems are written in same style, where Berrigan’s poems are written in different style. Berrigan’s poems are very detailed; he uses vivid words, awkward pieces, and focuses negatively of life without positive resolutions at the end. Shakespeare’s poems are very descriptive and his main focus is on love, beauty and morality and uses vivid imagery. Shakespeare is more of a heart-filled poet using negative issues of life such as death; heart break to show how there is always little good in something bad. Berrigan has a lot of issues on personal things that he has been through.

I learned many things about Sonnets from my research; I learned that a Sonnet is a poem of expressive thought or idea made up of fourteen lines using any number of formal rhyme scheme in English, and typically having ten syllables per line. In a sonnet the rhythm of each line sound like soft-loud-soft-loud, etc. Most Sonnets have Volta or turning point that begins at line nine. Sonnets are written in Iambic Pentameter, and come from Italian word meaning “Little Song”.



Shakespeare’s language while hard for us to understand because it is in Old English would become more accessible to us if we translated it into the english we use now. While Berrigan’s sonnets are in the typical english used today, speaking about people that are well known in our time. These sonnets are “set up” very differently, Shakespeare’s sonnet has twelve lines of text that tells the story and a final two that are indented that can be seen as the conclusion of the story he is trying to tell. When you read Shakespeare’s work you have to exaggerate some of the syllables with the way the words are placed.
Berrigan’s sonnet doesn’t seem to have a specific way that it is set up, it isn’t a Shakespearian sonnet because it doesn’t have the twelve lines and then two indented. It does however have fourteen lines of text. Berrigan reuses words in his sonnet where Shakespeare would rhyme them. They both use the same format for which word is used to rhyme or be reused. The first line is paired with the third, the second line with the fourth the last two words on the last two lines in each poem don’t follow this as they do not skip lines.
A sonnet is a fourteen line poem that follows a strict rhyme pattern, the Shakespearian and Italian sonnets are written with iambic pentameter. Sonnets also have ten syllables per line line. Having fourteen lines allowed the writers to build a complicated rhyming pattern that is drawn together in the last two lines.


Different from Shakespeare’s Sonnets, it seems that Berrigan’s poems have a more modern touch to the references it makes, like a reference to Twinkies and the ice cream truck’s jingle. Unfortunately it seems that Berrigan’s poems have lost its comprehensive language and rhyming, although I think its for good purpose since Berrigan’s poems are still poems. Berrigan also has a standing stone over Shakespeare, as his poems each have a different form alongside a different story, which probably fits its purpose well in each setting, like making the Ice cream poem simple to compliment simple ice cream. Shakespeare, however, has the same form of poem in each of his Sonnets, rhyme and all.

Both of these writers have different forms of writing, but I’ve always believed that Shakespeare’s form of writing was the very definition of poems: Simple paragraphs, rhyming in every sentence, using sophisticated language and alliteration. However, once again have I been proved wrong thanks to Berrigans Sonnets, which have proven to be still enjoyable, regardless of not following Shakespeare’s poem ‘formation’. Thus, I should be focusing on how to improve my poem writing outside of Shakespeare’s works. In doing so, I can make enjoyable poems just like Berrigans… although not to say Shakespeare’s Sonnets weren’t enjoyable, of course!

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