Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Italian Sonnet and something to try

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
  And many goodly state and kingdoms seen: 
                      (Keats - On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer)

Apologies for not checking in sooner, life has been rather busy of late.

I did no writing in Half Term and seem to be finding lots of reasons why I haven't the time to write poetry.  However, last weeks class was a good one.  There were only five of us which might actually work better.  We had one poem from a student to workshop and then looked at Sonnets again.  This time we studied the Italian, or Petrarchan sonnet and then work-shopped two, a Keats and one by Seamus Heaney  to see what they did with the form.  Petrarchan sonnets have 14 lines with a rhyming pattern of abba,abba,cdecde (or the last 6 lines could be cdedcc or cdeced or cdcdcd).  The poets had different ways of writing and the rhyming was....well, you had to look for it at times with lots of nearish rhymes, some barely in Heaney's case.

Our tutor then set us an exercise to write a sonnet .  We each had to write two nouns (naming words) on a piece of paper and pass it to our right.  Then we had to write a question against one of the words which we would use to sum up in the last three lines.  Then using our words we had to write a sonnet with 7 lines, four and then a turn in the last three lines.  We had about 15 minutes to write and it was a struggle for us!  Our tutor said it was a difficult exercise but we didn't have to rhyme or have set length of lines.  We all managed to produce something though I don't think I really got writing until the last five minutes!  My words were mixing desk and table and this is what I wrote:

Here the sounds are made,
mixed at this desk
brought together, blended
in a machine, a box of songs.

But how real are the sounds?
Does this table talk?
What colours the melody?

My tutor thought it was great!  Looking at the piece now I'd edit the second line and say 'at this mixing desk' to keep true to the words I received, but I was editing to the very last minute at the time!

Try it yourself.  Here are your two words:    book, umbrella.  Add your question to one of the words and away your go!

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