Posts Tagged ‘iambic’

Caution: Could become habit-forming…

July 15, 2013  |  Uncategorized  |  Comments Off on Caution: Could become habit-forming…
laura_smlWhy write sonnets in the 21st Century when we are free to spill anything on the page
and call it poetry?IMG_0717
Why confine ourselves to the marching feet of iambic pentameter? Or dare the audacity of rhyme?
I often take poems that aren’t working in free verse and recast them in form, to shake loose
new possibilities. With a syllabic count, I must carefully choose words that fit. In iambic,
I must be sure the beat is on the right syllable.
I am forced in a sonnet or “little song” to reduce the size of my canvas, to hone in on the essence
of what I’m trying to say.  Often my premise is turned around by the Volta and I see it in fresh ways.
This happened with a poem I wrote in several different ways about listening, but never really got it off the ground. I tried a sonnet as a way to clean my palate as it were from the other versions and to take stock, but it was in  this form that it was published as Poem of the Week on the Australian Poetry Website.
Unlike the hawk, she pounces through the phone. 
No, Not an option. No, it can’t be done. 
Though doubts like squirrels over branches, run,  
my roots spread deep, unshaken by her tone. 
How could you? and Why did you never say? 
She swoops, her voice, a crow scaring the wrens.
I’m fine, I think, I needn’t make amends. 
Her cry conveys a warble of dismay. 
Don’t you realize how busy I have been? 
I fossick for the words that could work magic. 
Of course, I coo, settling in to listen.
A witness to her grief calms her panic. 
Maybe, we could find a way, she softens. 
What shifted? My open ears, not logic.
Sometimes I unpack the sonnet and rewrite it as free verse again after twisting and sculpting to unearth fresh vocabulary and a deeper sense of line.
It feels like an ancient craft that takes time and care, so rare in our instant add water and stir society.
Here is what the superb form poet, Annie Finch has to say about it….
“This is what I consider “the Craft,” to use an ancient term for an embodied devotion so passionate it attains the stature of religion in the service of the Goddess. When I invent a stanza, match a rhyme, ease a meter through, I feel spiritually connected to timeless traditions of crafts worldwide such as embroidery, weaving and pottery; I feel connected not only with pre-Raphaelite artisans or medieval scribes but with the makers of a Turkish carpet or Celtic brooch, expressing the central joy of worship by crafting a worthy object… As I will define it, “goddess poetics” celebrate and are made of the playful and physical; I am led to linger in rhyme and repetition, to glory in the surprising artifices of poetry’s body. These artifices of form provide a source of spiritual power in and of themselves. This spiritual imperative of the intrinsic pleasure of form, as I have understood it, has long drawn me to an oppositional poetics that grounds itself in the immanent particularities of poetic structure: pattern, repetition, spell, charm, incantation.”
Sonnets are puzzles that engage my mind.  It’s a pattern that can ultimately be scrapped, but there’s pleasure in following the form. And there’s magic in it.
Surely, this exercise will stave off dementia if nothing else!
                                          But be warned, it can become obsessive.
Join us for the Sonnet-fest– two Friday mornings to focus on the craft of Sonnet.  A new workshop…