21 May 2020

Students Analyze and Create Sonnets for National Poetry Month

The students in Dr. Joyce Russell’s English 132 class studied sonnets during the month of April, which was National Poetry Month. Among the sonnets the students studied was Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. The students were quick to observe that Sonnet 130 was an antithesis to the conventions of the Petrarchan ideals of beauty. Shakespeare’s addressee is a dark woman with “black wires growing out of her head.” When the students were asked to write their own sonnets, they were permitted to select either the traditional theme of love or a nontraditional theme.

The response to the assignment was very positive. Some of the sonnets were filled with great emotion and were of a very personal nature. Some of those poets requested that their poems not be published, but they were indeed worthy of publication. To those students, Dr. Russell, a renowned published author from the English Program of the Department of Humanities, sends a heartfelt thank you. Scholar Sinanzwayinkosi Ndhlovu and Scholar Taylor Kerr consented to have their sonnets published here, and Dr. Russell and Dr. Wanda B. Coneal, Dean of the School of Humanities, Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, applaud and appreciate their creative insights. As Ms. Kerr said about her poem, “Publish it to the world!”


A bit about the student authors:

“My name is Sinanzwayinkosi Ndhlovu. I’m originally from Bulawayo Zimbabwe in Africa. I’m a rising sophomore Engineering Major and Computer Information Systems minor with an aspiration to contribute to the Engineering world. I believe everyone deserves to express themselves. My insatiable zeal to pour out my heart and share my feelings and opinions led me to poetry. When I discovered poetry, it became my other voice; its a way of expressing myself. I decided to write my mind on the paper and glorify the beauty of life with the ink. And this piece of poetry is about me missing home.”




“My name is Taylor Kerr. I am a rising senior and currently 17 years old. I attend Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, an early college school that has allowed me to enroll in college courses at Saint Augustine’s University. Upon graduation next year I plan to study Criminology. I was compelled to write “Message to the World” on our current COVID crisis as it has impacted all of our everyday lives. The underlying message hopes to teach people to stay positive and connected even through a time of distress.”