I love the challenge of the sonnet.
Traditional Sonnets are written in “iambic pentameter.”
“Iambic rhythms come relatively naturally in English. Iambic pentameter is the most common meter in English poetry. William Shakespeare used iambic pentameter in his plays and his sonnets. It is a line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity.” Wikipedia
But I also like the challenge of creating new rhythmic highs and lows. For instance instead of 10 or 12 beats to a line – How about 9 or 11?!?!
As write the lines of a sonnet, the rhythm I use is usually determined by what I feel are the more superior best lines of the poem. For example, with the Stardust Sonnet, it began development with this line… “Gaia cares not for whom we desire.” was one of the first lines. As I monkeyed around with other lines, it became: “Gaia does not cares for whom we desire.” Every line in this sonnet has a beat of 11. I.E. “This one goes to eleven.” (That’s for my Spinal Tap friends.)
It’s easy to write a poem and free verse, but it becomes a high art form, when you apply constraints. In addition to the rhythm, it usually consists of 4 rhyming couplets for a total of 8 lines, then traditionally the tambre or voice of the poem shifts in the 9th line. And the most fun is developing the zingers come on the 11th and 12th lines.