Friday, March 27, 2020

Poetry Friday: A Classic

The theme for March's poetry challenge is: "classic, or to an image we consider classic, whatever form we wish."

Well, now. I wish I hadn't left this assignment to the last second. According to most definitions, "classic" has a time element to it, as in:  "judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind."  Contrary to some book blurbs, then, nothing is truly an "overnight" classic.  We need the strong lens of history, the developed perspective of many generations, and the long, collective sieving through much debris.  Got time for that?

Me neither.  So I glommed onto well....a classic. The sonnet!  No one could argue with that. The form has stood the test of time, and survived endless variations, too. Even now, Patrick Stewart is reading a sonnet a day on Facebook.  But I wondered, even as I made my hasty choice...why did the sonnet survive? What makes it tick? What makes it last?

Turns out, other people have asked the same.  Here's a beautiful essay on "The Sonnet as Silver Marrow Spoon."  As esoteric as that sounds, it's actually a cool "how to" for teachers on stripping the form down to its basics for students to try. The author says a sonnet can simply be a fourteen line story that, around line eight or nine, is "nudged or diverted slightly in its path so that it turns and says something else."

He suggests trying it with an old family story.  I decided to try it with a fairy tale.


Note: I truly would like to try this as instructed, with a family story (the example given in the article is stunning) but for now, that's what I have. My fellow poets have done better.


Poetry Friday is hosted today by The Opposite of Indifference.