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Showing posts from March 22, 2020


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


SONNET SCHOOL SATURDAY MORNING Posted on FB 21 March 2020 Writing on the Sand' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1859). Essentially the sonnet is a word production in 14 lines. These 14 lines consist of 8 lines (the octave) and 6 lines (the sestet). This is the convention that is kept with the great majority of sonnets written in English and other languages. This form evolved because it was easily memorable and you could say a lot in a little. Lovers like to say it succinctly, sensually, and without labouring the announcement. Polemicists wish to parade their opponent’s opinion (the octave), only to demolish it (the sestet). Mystics would draw our attention to wondrousness, only to increase the wonder, in case we weren’t paying enough attention the first time. The role you adopt in writing your sonnet can be of some use in how it is pitched and which words are chosen. Two members of Sonnet School are lawyers, for example, who know the skill of forwarding the evidence (the


SONNET SCHOOL THURSDAY MORNING Posted on FB 19 th of March 2020 We think of the beautiful people of Italy who live in complete lockdown. Italy, as we learnt in school, invented the sonnet. Petrarch is the most famous early practitioner. The English went mad on the sonnet in the Renaissance, and the 20th century was even madder. “The lunatic, the lover and the poet / Are of imagination all compact” according to Shakespeare, whose own relationship with the sonnet is pleasingly complex and an inspiring model. As we know from hi s plays, he also had a thing about Italy. Sonnet School is in, now that self-isolation and online learning are what we wake up to each day. My friend Robert Whalley writes: “I have a suggestion for these trying times: could you lead some of us, who’ve never had the courage to try a DIY sonnet, through the mechanics of said beast? We can even share our works in progress for your counsel.” So, I invite you to write a sonnet, with Robert’s suggested pro