The Wild Sonnet format follows the traditional length of fourteen lines, but divides the poem into two stanzas of seven lines, each closing with a rhyming couplet. The five preceding lines are a rambling iambic, sometimes pent up in a pentameter and sometimes not. Occasionally, there are internal rhymes to give the work an echo both to the tradition of the form and to the thoughts within poem.
The feeling of each Wild Sonnet is meant to sound something like a soliloquy – as if it were an utterance coming just after a striking thought or situation. There is a stream-of-conscious sense to the flow of each stanza, a fretwork of association that circles back upon itself. The transition from the first to second stanza is meant to be bit of a break, a moving forward from the initial idea in an unexpected direction.
The structure and sensibility of The Wild Sonnets are influenced by great poets of the past, most notably: William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, e.e. cummings, Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Donne.