Feb. 7th, 2009

Another reason I chose the envelope sonnet for my first in the series is that it's the sonnet form in which I've written the most; I love the elegant cdecde progression of the Italian sestet, which somehow always makes the rhymes come out of nowhere, but the repetitive rhyming of the fulll-on Petrarchan octet leads to contrived or limited rhymes. (For a wimp like me at least.)

I've never really been a fan of the Shakesperean sonnet -- that final couplet always feel so... pithy. It usually ends up more like a summary than a full volta/turn, which is much easier to develop with the octet/sestet forms. I suppose if you're m-fin' Shakespeare you only need two lines to do what everyone else manages in six.

Then there's all those other sonnets that never even occur to me:

"The Spenserian sonnet has three interlocking Sicilian quatrains (abab bcbc cdcd) plus a volta and a heroic couplet (ee); the terza rima sonnet has interlocking Sicilian triplet (aba) stanzas aba bcb cdc ded, a turn, and a heroic couplet."

In laundromats (terza rima sonnet)

In laundromats the sheets go tumbling, slow
in supermarket check-out lines we sift
these moments that arrive before we go

when waiting is allowed. When I can lift
my eyes and have nowhere to look. When you
don't have to wonder what to do. A drift

of snow blows through these days, and who
will stand there and receive it? Who will wait
dressed in their laundry best in public view

to see the check-out girl, whose slender hands
tie back her long black hair with rubber bands?


Sadly I no longer go to laundromats. Where else can one find such purity of purpose?



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