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Old 09-20-2017, 03:55 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
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Default Sonnet 101

I'm usually in the 'not keen on poems about poetry' camp. But I decided to make an exception if they're a) really good or b) silly. So here's a 'b' I just knocked up.

Sonnet 101

You'd like to write a sonnet, but just can't?
Think all your 'vers' is 'libre' at its heart?
The rules can bend, you know, rhymes can be slant.
Enjambment's useful too. Then you can start
a sentence and just watch it go, careening
round the bend of several other lines.
An argument is key, so that the meaning
creeps up like a hungry snake that dines
on…truth or something…(similes, you learn,
will fill some space). And look, we're nearly done!
Now all you need's 'the volta'. A funny turn.
The bit that makes the reader say, 'What fun!
I see things slightly differently this time'
(Then slap the lid on with a final rhyme)

Anyone? Ha...
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:08 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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That is quite well done, Mark. Shades of Pope in Essay on Criticism. Use of the time/rhyme rhyme is especially apt.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:39 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
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Thanks Aaron, I shall have to read it. All I really know of Mr Pope, shamefully, is The Rape of the Lock which I had to study for my A levels many years ago. And that he gives very good epigram.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:43 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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The specific similarity I had in mind is his consistent use of describing X while at the very same time doing X (e.g. as you enjamb your mention of enjambment). Here's my favorite example from Pope:
A needless Alexandrine ends the song
That like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:48 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is online now
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Ahh! And I have a snake in mine too! Maybe I have read it... I plead honestly unconscious plagiarism if I have! But I'm sure I haven't...hmm

Edit: Did he say 'talent borrows genius steals?' or was that someone else haha

Edit edit: Oscar!

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 09-20-2017 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:52 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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It's not unlikely you've encountered those lines outside the context of the whole poem—they're quite famous.
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:55 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is online now
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Mark, this was fun; it works so well as educative verse. Coleridge has a few, too. Here's more Pope:
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offense;
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow:
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.
Here's the Coleridge "Metrical Feet"
TROCHEE trips from long to short;
From long to long in solemn sort
Slow Spondee stalks; strong foot! yet ill able
Ever to come up with dactyl trisyllable.
Iambics march from short to long;—
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapæsts throng;
One syllable long, with one short at each side,
Amphibrachys hastes with a stately stride;—
First and last being long, middle short, Amphimacer
Strikes his thundering hoofs like a proud high-bred racer.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:27 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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I came. I saw. I swooned! Instant classic, Mark.

This is the closest I've come:

Sonnet Stanzas

Within my room, I work to finish lines
that might support the stanzas of a sonnet,
and try to dovetail them as an octet.
But there are crucial problems with my rhymes
before I even smooth the fourth—such signs
of instability, beyond mere nit,
require an innovative retrofit,
to square the verse with classical designs.

But then the lady whom I hope to woo—
not Will’s or Petrarch’s—spells my stanzas’ doom:
You’re pazzo if you think these dives’ll do!
I cannot fret, for she gives me the clue
that rhyming June and moon may cure her gloom
and canonize us in a sonnet room.
__________________
Ralph

Last edited by RCL; 09-20-2017 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:37 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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That's very good, Mark.

I've done quite a few attempts at such things. My latest was intended as a children's poem (say around 12-14 year olds):

SCARED OF SONNETS

Do not be scared of sonnets. This is one.
You see? You're on the second line and yet,
though you're not having what I would call "fun,"
you haven't gotten sick or died, I bet.
And look: you've reached line five and still your breath
goes in and out, your heart still thumps on cue.
You may be bored, but you're not bored to death.
It's just that there are things you'd rather do.

I get it, and I offer you this cheer:
A sonnet has just fourteen lines, and so,
relief from all your boredom now draws near.
We only have one couplet left to go.
The thirteenth line is here! Around the bend,
because you were not scared, you've reached the end!
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:45 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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And this one, it's relevant to know, appeared in Bumbershoot:

Honest Sonnet

Please don’t read this sonnet to the end.
In fact, if I were you I’d stop right now.
The sad truth is, I really don’t know how
to write a sonnet. Why should you pretend

there’s any merit to these words I penned?
Whatever praise you’d graciously allow
I feel I’m honor-bound to disavow.
(I’ve read ahead. There’s nothing to defend).

What’s that? Still here? Why can’t you take a hint?
Do you believe the last five lines will bring
a quality the first nine lines could not,

that just before it ends this poem will sing?
Come on, don’t be a fool. This poem is rot.
It’s scandalous what Bumbershoot will print!
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