Friday, April 11, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Poetry Seven

X-ray image of the sun's corona
(photo courtesy of Yohkoh Science Team)

Who writes sonnets anymore?

The Poetry Seven.

That would be Liz, Cloudscome, Kelly, Laura, Tricia, Tanita, and myself.

A Crown of Sonnets (or a Sonnet Corona) is a series of linked sonnets, each one connected to the ones before and after it. Many, many weeks ago, by the luck of the draw, I was tapped to write the first poem in such a crown.

Would The Poetry Seven have let me do it if they'd known that I'd never written a sonnet before? I think they did know, because I'm pretty sure I let that drop in our emailed conversations.

At least I had nothing to compare myself to, neither my own past efforts, or (at that moment) their intimidatingly luminous examples. I wrote my sonnet over the long Thanksgiving weekend in a pie-induced haze. I was stunned by the glamor and the challenge of it. In my blog post that day, I titled the experience Sonnet-and-Pie-looza.

And now, months later, completely pie-sober, I'm still wondering:

Who keeps the glory of sonnet-writing a secret? And why?

And why didn't anyone tell me much, much sooner how much joy there is in writing poetry with like-minded souls? There I was, slaving away in my lonely garret....

So here's to---

The Poetry Seven.
Poetry Peer Pressure.
Sonnets All Around.
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

The full crown is posted at Liz in Ink. (Liz deserves special mention for dazzling us all into attempting this in the first place.) Each sonnet is also posted, with notes, at each poet's blog.

Here is my entry point into the corona:

Cutting a Swath
(a seven-pointed crown of sonnets)

As shoes untied, you drag frayed words in trail
Behind your name; unlooped, they flop up steps
And trip your stride, and blacken blue the depths
Of day; from light to dark, from deep to pale,
Undone, you fall; unknown, you pass or fail.
In halls, you thread the holes between your debts
Unpaid, and those who shove your name in reps
Against the rails of crowded stairs. Inhale
The stench! Keep true your shoes! The ups and downs
Will yield a path to out beyond, to where
The mirror turns, and those who hid their marks
And stumbled most will dress and march in gowns
On paths unfound, on tracks, unnamed, a pair
Of laces, ends unbound, leaps free as sparks.

---Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

Sonnet #2 takes off where mine ends, and you may view it at Laura Purdie Salas's LiveJournal. Read all the sonnets in order, or view the crown in its entirety at Liz's.

Poetry Friday is hosted by one of The Poetry Seven's own, Cloudscome, at a wrung sponge.


  1. Actually, you deserve special mention for dazzling us with the very first sonnet!! Now if only we had some pie to go with that crown...

  2. Don't know if your special brilliance was enhanced by pie or in spite of pie - but you definitely got us into orbit! I really love that starting image of untied shoes flopping and leaping up steps... to paths unfound and ends unbound. Pure genius!

  3. And I woke to that same thought - why did I never realize the glory of writing in form before? What foolishness of youth obscured "the joy of writing poetry with like-minded souls"? Working with you and the rest of the Seven has been phenomenal.

  4. Amazing. I too love the way you use the shoelaces! I'll never see them the same way again.

  5. Oh, I remember! The pie-insanity! I couldn't even blame it on pie... I don't know what to blame my 'yes' on except a wistfulness ...wishing I really could write poetry...

  6. Sara, I can't tell you how relieved I was when I didn't come up first in the roll to see the order of poets. You were so brave about saying sure, you'd do it. Thank God. Because I did not want to go first.

    I love the intensity of your images. They make me refeel all those small but painful violences of high school again. Amazing!

  7. I'm with Laura. In fact, I recall writing something about not wanting to go first OR last. You started us off beautifully. I can't imagine where we might have gone with another opening.

    I love the line "Undone, you fall; unknown, you pass or fail." It connects so well with Tanita's line about being unnamed, and totally captures that lonely feeling. I often wondered how I could be surrounded by so many others, and still feel so alone. Did we all feel that way?

    I think we should all be wearing crowns today, don't you?

    Thanks for launching us so beautifully.

  8. Oh, yeah. Now this is what I'm talking about. I love the edge, the beauty of your sonnet.

  9. Oooh, oooh, yes, Tricia. Crowns all around!

  10. I'm feeling the pain of adolescence again, and that's good. You've nailed that trapped feeling, the loneliness, the feeling of bursting out of one's own skin. And, so beautifully, as the first sonnet, with "laces unbound," you freed everyone else to speak in turn. *Thunderous applause* BIG crowns all around!

  11. WHOA! That is a force right here, those words. If I eat more pie, will it make me that good?

    This is the coolest thing ever that you all did. I can't wait to keep reading. .....

  12. Your first sonnet?! Those are big shoes to fill *g* but you did a superb job. Congratulations!

  13. Your willingness to lead off, knowing it was a new sort of task for you, made it almost impossible for the rest of us to whine when our turns came along.

    And TadMack: You not only can write poetry, but you write killer poetry.

  14. I can see you're all giddy and glowing and rightly so. :-) Congratulations on a beautiful accomplishment!

  15. Sara, in my excitement over the wonderful poems this morning, either I posted at the live journal feed of your blog, or I jotted off a post in my mind about how impressed I was and it never reached the world wide web.

    I can't believe that was your first sonnet. Wow. Again. :)

  16. Yay, Sara. "The path to out beyond." Yep. You're so right.

  17. OOF! I feel like I just got punched in the stomach by beauty. Is that even possible? I can't wait to read the next one.

  18. These are all so fabulous that I had to go around leaving comments for each of you! You are all so inspiring. I might have to write a poem this month myself--for the first time in over ten years!

  19. I really liked the down-to-earth feel of this, and it is even more effective dressed up in the silks of a sonnet. "All fur coat and no knickers" is a phrase my family uses to describe the nouveau riche (you know us British, we can't stand it when people try to rise above their class). However, in this case, I use it as a compliment.

  20. That is AWESOME! :) Yes, it definitely is much more fun to write and talk poetry with others. I used to write sonnets but not so much anymore. Thanks for sharing your poem!

  21. "Poetry peer pressure"
    "Writing poetry with like-minded souls."

    Lucky Seven.

  22. Thanks, everyone, for coming by to see and comment on my one point in the full corona--your words lit up my inbox all day long. Here's to the power of poetry!


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