i am crazy about sonnets. i wrote my first sonnet when i was sixteen, calling it “stoned sonnet”, since it was about getting high & only the couplet at the end rhymed or had any sense of meter. for most of my adult life, i have written free verse, but recently — when i went back to college & started studying shakespeare & other renaissance writers, i started re-reading my poetry & i realized that most of it fell into a natural iambic pentameter — whether or not it was all on one line or not, it was a natural 10 beats. so i started working with that & i realized that many of my poems were sonnets, or almost sonnets.
in the summer of 2009, at the lockport public library, i found a book called “the art of the sonnet,” edited by stephen burt & david mikics. i worked with this book all summer, renewing it when i had to, then returning it & getting it back out again. when i returned to college in the fall, i found it on the shelves of lockwood library & borrowed it from there. (i know own my very own copy). i started writing traditional sonnets, mostly shakespearean, but also petrarchan and miltonian.
in a poetry writing class, several students suggested another sonnet book … “the reality street book of sonnets,” edited by jeff hilson. many of the sonnets are “regular” sonnets, but there are many that i catagorize “it’s a sonnet because i call it a sonnet”. however, “the reality book of sonnets” helped me break from the classic sonnet form like punk rock helped me break from classic rock. & by breaking with the classic form, i found a new appreciation of that form.
i now like to think that i write almost exclusively sonnets. i have several different forms & various rules for myself. i try to write one a day, but that doesn’t always happen. it if does, i’ll post it.