Sunday, April 20, 2008


It's late, and this will be extremely short, but here it is nevertheless:

On crown sonnets

As you probably know, I recently had the pleasure of writing one sonnet for inclusion in a crown of sonnets. There is another type of crown called a royal crown, which consists of 15 sonnets. As in a regular corona or crown, the first line of one is the last line of the one before it. That pattern holds for the first fourteen sonnets. The kicker comes in the fifteenth sonnet, which must be composed of the first lines of the prior fourteen. Marilyn Nelson wrote one, which became a book called A Wreath for Emmett Till. It is a masterpiece, if you ask me.

Jane Austen referenced such a thing within the text of Northanger Abbey, when, at the end of an evening, Catherine Morland finds herself the subject of admiration by two young men. Austen remarks "[s]he felt more obliged to the two young men for this simple praise than a true quality heroine would have been for fifteen sonnets in celebration of her charms."

On poets

"A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language."
W. H. Auden

"The poet doesn't invent. He listens."
Jean Cocteau

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