Painting: ‘Lady with Book of Verse by Petrarch’, (circa 1514) by Andrea del Sarto. This image is on the cover of ‘The Art of the Sonnet’.
In just a week we have seen our School rise from an idea to a busy interaction between friends and acquaintances, both here in Australia and already overseas. Grounding of planes has lent new meaning to the word ‘overseas’. You are all welcome! The conversation has been constructive, good-humoured, but also exploratory, as poets find their way with the form. The sonnets have been a delight to encounter, enjoy, and reflect upon. As they say in Ireland, the craic is good.
In fact, things are getting a bit out of control here in self-isolation. We already find we need a couple of School policies, just so everyone knows what’s going on. While I toyed with the idea of a separate School FB page, this is not really a closed group. New poets join as a result of the friendships enjoyed with current members. Serendipity rules. We want to be sending out our poetry in new and different directions.
For this reason, I ask that you first post your sonnets on my page on the latest posts headed in block letters SONNET SCHOOL. In that way I can make helpful remarks, or be told I am not making helpful remarks, in my role as facilitator-mentor-practitioner person. I encourage you to post your sonnets on your own FB page, to share them around, and get responses. But the more formal discussion goes on this my FB page, thus helping with coordination of the School. It also means others can read the comments and make their own.
If you are stuck with a sonnet, need any kind of outside assistance from a fellow-self-isolationist, want to know if you’re on the right track, then message me, email, pick up the phone, yes.
For now, let me share with you words from the Introduction to ‘The Art of the Sonnet’ by Stephen Burt and David Mikics (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010). “Often, the sonnet makes an occasion crucial, and fixes it to the page. It is predictable yet supple in its application of rules. This formal strength makes something as seemingly slight as a lyric poem a work for the ages. Rapturous praise, bitter exclamation, and step-by-step reasoning frequently intertwine in its concise shape. The poem’s form contains and focuses its author’s passions, and very often expresses a drive toward idealization: emotion achieves clarity and substantial life under the lamp of art. Obsessive care and fascination mark the sonnet from its beginnings.”
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