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Poetry Guide: Crown of sonnets

A crown of sonnets is a sequence of sonnets, usually addressed to some one person, and/or concerned with a single theme.

Each of the sonnets explores one 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.

With seven sonnets, the first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet, thereby bringing the sequence to a close. A famous example is John Donne's Corona (It. "crown").

Jaroslav Seifert wrote a sentimental Wreath of Sonnets about Prague, comprising fifteen sonnets, where the final binding sonnet is made up of all the first lines of the preceding fourteen. An authorised translation of this piece into English exists, by Jan Křesadlo, who also composed his own emigre riposte in the same format.

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