Beginning with Cielo of Alcamo, the court poets developed a series of lyrical styles that used standard vernacular to make art of poetry. They were aided by Frederick II, who required poets to stick to one subject: courtly love. Between 1230 and 1266, court poets wrote hundreds of love poems. They worked with a beautiful derivative of canso, the canzone, which became the most popular verse form until Giacomo de Lentini further developed it into the sonnet. Besides writing sonnets, de Lentini continuously invented new words in what became a new language ? Italian. Among the best-known poets were de Lentini, Pier delle Vigne, Renaldo d'Aquino, Giacomo Pugliese, and Mazzeo Ricco.
Sonnets swept through late 16th and early 17th century England, primarily through the works of Wyatt, Sir Philip Sydney, Edmund Spenser, and William Shakespeare. Spenser and Shakespeare took the Petrarchan form that Wyatt introduced to the literary landscape and added their individual touches, forming the three principal sonnet styles: Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean. The other fixed verse influence ? Provencal and French forms ? added to the poetic mix, creating a vast community of poets who recited their works in various forums. In the theater, their verse often preceded Shakespeare and Marlowe dramas ? a practice followed nearly four centuries later by many of San Francisco’s 1960s rock musicians, who preceded their concerts with readings from Beat poets.
Beat poets and their works fostered a new era of appreciation and study of poetry. The emerging Baby Boomer generation fanned the fame of the Beats far beyond what any of them imagined. The Beats also influenced East Village poet-musicians Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg (who formed the Fugs), and a group of artistic, musically inclined youth who hung out in San Francisco's North Beach and Haight-Ashbury districts. That group went on to launch psychedelic rock and the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. Growing fame also brought many fine Beat poets to the surface, such as Diane Di Prima, Joanne Kyger, LeRoi Jones, and Herbert Huncke, who worked in the shadows of their more renowned peers.
Beginning with John Dryden, the metaphysical movement was a loosely woven string of poetic works that continued through the often-bellicose 18th century, and concluded when William Blake bridged the gap between metaphysical and romantic poetry. The poets sought to minimize their place within the poem and to look beyond the obvious ? a style that greatly informed American transcendentalism and the Romantics who followed. Among the greatest adherents were Samuel Cowley, John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Abraham Cowley, Henry Vaughan, George Chapman, Edward Herbert, and Katherine Philips.