From 1327 to 1368, Petrarch wrote 366 poems as part of a sequence, centered on the theme of his love for Laura. The sequence—collected in a canzoniere or song-book, usually called Rime Sparse, or Scattered Rhymes in English—includes 317 sonnets, a form based on rules established by the 13th-century Italian poet Guittone of Arezzo. The earliest major practitioner of the sonnet, Petrarch is credited with the development and popularization of the Italian sonnet, thus called the Petrarchan sonnet.
About Petrarch’s legacy, the poet J. D. McClatchy has said, “True love—or rather, the truest—is always obsessive and unrequited. No one has better dramatized how it scorches the heart and fires the imagination than Petrarch did, centuries ago. He dipped his pen in tears and wrote the poems that have shaped our sense of love—its extremes of longing and loss—ever since.”