I want to write a critical appreciation of a twentieth-century sonnet sequence. There are plenty such from earlier centuries, but of course formal poetry is less popular these days so they are thin on the ground. Any ideas?
They aren't sonnets, but Sheenagh Pugh does sequences. There's one in her book The Beautiful Lie on the search for the Franklin expedition.
Hooray, I finally got back into Emule.
Stephen, Vikram Seth's novel 'The Golden Gate' is composed entirely of 690 sonnets. Can you count that as a sequence?
Thankyou Les, Linda, and Ian
Vikram Seth is a particularly good suggestion. thanx.
Rainer Rilke wrote a series of sonnets to orpheus, the translations can be found here: [www.polyamory.org] />
Here's an example of a modern sonnet sequence in case anyone wonders what we're discussing:
The Sweet Flow Of Love Evolves Over Time
--Copyright © 2005 CarrieAnn Thunell
1 of 4
The sweet flow of love evolves over time
as season after season etches change.
Two lives tango and waltz a duetís rhyme.
Their priorities and roles rearrange.
A garden planted in spring long ago
now yields its third season of hardy fruit.
He gave to her his ring so all would know
the commitment that flowed from his pursuit.
Two lives have intertwined to braid and wind
past courtshipís sweet garden to greater depths
of deepening friendship of heart and mind,
the gestalt when a sun and moon eclipse.
The greatest adventure of a lifetime,
marriage is a journey dense and sublime.
Marriage Is A Journey Dense And Sublime
2 of 4
Marriage is a journey dense and sublime
that grows cultivated and yet spice-wild.
This herb garden of mint, basil and thyme,
is redolent and vibrant as a child.
Partners evolve in their own unique ways.
Sometimes they dance close and sometimes apart.
Sometimes the marriage can become a maze.
Each path is blind and none leads back to start.
Words are confusing and gestures too bald.
The lidded stone-soup boils over again.
Sarcasm sets in and adjectives scald.
Time for the silence of hug-and-kiss Zen.
The suchness of our touchness is our Tao.
We are the yin and yang of loving now.
We Are The Yin And Yang Of Loving Now
3 of 4
We are the yin and yang of loving now.
We are man and woman mated for life.
This rich soil we must water, weed, and plow
in days of sun and rain, come joy or strife.
Weeds choke shoots of the garden untended.
Come letís get our rakes, wheelbarrow, and hoes.
If we do our parts it shall be splendid.
Come let us nurture this love as it grows.
Iíve a hole in my glove and your hoe is all bent
but weíll do our best anyhow my dear.
Look at the sky; this rain is heaven-sent.
Each day is much too precious to give fear
an opening to mix in weeds of doubt.
The grandest sunflower was once a sprout!
The Grandest Sunflower Was Once A Sprout
4 of 4
The grandest sunflower was once a sprout,
A shoot smaller than one clear fingernail.
But no gardener with green thumb would doubt
that sun, blue sky, and rain would soon prevail.
Love starts as a small seed of potential,
And how it grows depends upon the care
of hearts who choose to be reverential.
Enduring lifetime love is truly rare.
Adversity can yield a hardy plant
as courage and endurance are tested.
To those who persevere, love will grant
the holy grail of all they have quested.
Forgiving compassion is the sweet kiss
whose gift is to renew marital bliss!
Published in the second edition of my chapbook,
Sonnets From the Scandinavian, © 2005 CarrieAnn Thunell
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/24/2008 08:59PM by les712.
Guys, I've decided to focus on the Glasgow Sonnets of Edwin Morgan. If anything comes to mind, let me know. I'll keep you posted.
Here's the essay.
Any chance to format the essay in plain text, Stephen for those of us who do not use Word?
I have created a plain text version: but a 'not a valid file' message comes up when I try to attach. Any ideas?
Stephen, I'm not sure what programs you could use to transfer the text. My computer will read microsoft documents in "notepad" but not in "word", or "power point". I'm afraid the problem is on my end this time. It's a pity though, because I would like to read the essay.
Excellent essay, Stephen.
And thank you for reproducing the poems at the end. I hadn't read them before. Your comments about their special qualities added to the interest and enjoyment.
Les, I've attempted to cut, paste, and email it to you, don't know if it'll work, but worth the shot
Thanks, Johnny. Your cut and pasting did the job. I'll get back to this thread after I read the essay.
Man, you guys make some team! It's good to be back.
Stephen, first of all, let me congratulate you on a fine essay. Also, I applaud your choice of subject matter. Morgan's poems are gritty, compact and impeccable in form and substance. The choice of language reminds me that we Americans tend to be much less formal and less exact in our word choices than Morgan is in these sonnets. His writing is similar in subject matter to Carl Sandburg, a poet with whom I'm more familiar.
Having said that, I'm very glad to no longer be involved in academia, your effort here brings back my own hours of trial and tribulation in literature courses at our own local university. I'm glad that those days of fretting over what to write, how much, and what might be pleasing to professor x, are long behind me.
On the other hand I'm glad that you are associated with this forum and that you included the poems themselves in your essay. I had never read any of Morgan's work and I find it very worthy of my time and effort. If anyone else would like to read just the sonnets, let me know and I will send you a copy via e-mail or private message.
Thankyou, Les. Your approval means a lot to me.
Sonnet One is available on the web, so I'll print it here:
A mean wind wanders through the backcourt trash.
Hackles on puddles rise, old mattresses
puff briefly and subside. Play-fortresses
of brick and bric-a-brac spill out some ash.
Four storeys have no windows left to smash,
but the fifth a chipped sill buttresses
mother and daughter the last mistresses
of that black block condemned to stand, not crash.
Around them the cracks deepen, the rats crawl.
The kettle whimpers on a crazy hob.
Roses of mould grow from ceiling to wall.
The man lies late since he has lost his job,
smokes on one elbow, letting his coughs fall
thinly into an air too poor to rob.
Your essay made me want to read the poems themselves, and the poems taught me about the place Morgan wrote about...a place much like the Boston I left many years ago.
'But stalled lives never budge.'-- the essence of life in the slums.
Thanks for posting your work here.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2008 05:05AM by petersz.
Well, guys, I must have been doing something right.
I have been awarded a 2(1) Degree in English and American Literature with Creative Writing by the University of Kent in Canterbury.
Thanks for all your help.
Congratulations Stephen ! That's a mighty effort.
As a matter of interest, if you know your separate unit grades, how did you go with your sonnet sequence essay? I thought it was first rate.
Your achievement should add enjoyment to your celebration of midsummer. 'Twas always a magic time in England's "green and pleasant land". Hope things are green and pleasant where you are.
Congratulations. You deserve it after all your hard work.
You asked how my sonnet sequence essay fared.
I'll preface the response by admitting, to you and to myself, that I understand why I missed out on a First.
I have always found it hard to put of myself into words, other than hidden in my poetry. Thus, I am comfortable with seeking out and ordering and reporting what others have said about a text: but when it comes to my own opinion, I am shy.
Note, this is in writing. Verbally, you can't shut me up. But to get a First, a student has to be able to cut the ice on paper. I can't.
So, I expected and got a 2 (1). That'll do, pig, as the farmer said in Babe.
So, with that in mind, here is what my tutor reasonably opined:
'This is appreciative, well informed - you've clearly read up the relevant available critical literature - knowledgeable about Morgan and his context. The metrical analysis is knowledgeable too, yet the total effect isn't really close to the poems. There's less teasing out of implications than I'd like. Very informative and well informed, but feels as if it leans on its critics a bit.'
So there you go. Ian, I was a successful Civil Servant until retirement and it shows. It's how I'm made. But my poetry, man ................it ROCKS!!!!!!
Stephen Fryer BA (Hons)
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2008 05:36PM by misterF.
Well, Stephen, I'd give the essay a First. I'm not sure how much sense you made of your professor's criticism, but I've always deplored comments such as "yet the total effect isn't really close to the poems," and, "There's less teasing out of implications than I'd like." I think they are gibberish and of little value to the education process.
But that's now in the past. We here on the forum have long recognized your passion for poetry (as well as your passion for a pint now and then). It's good to know you are now officially recognized with a BA degree, and one with Honors no less. Well done!
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2008 06:31PM by hpesoj.