A Permutation Chart for Network Conversation: An American Sonnet
Many of my readers already know I experiment with various ways to adapt traditional literary forms to characteristically American manners and styles. I find the sonnet particularly interesting because it still maintains its prestige as a consummate way to say something well, but our literary history shows little success in adapting to American thought forms and ideas the sonnet's almost sacred formats bequeathed to us from the great Renaissance and Elizabethan English poets.
American styles tend less toward conciseness than to verbosity, or at least toward adding a few extra words to make the thought complete, or at least perfectly clear. We need much more work along these lines of analyzing the language patterns of American culture.
Each line in my current example adds three extra syllables culminating in an unstressed syllable once known as the "feminine ending" (Gerald Sanders, "A Poetry Primer," Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1935, 1965, page 47), but here used to indicate the indeterminate nature of the internet. As you can see, these last three syllables carry the burden of the entire poem within them in a way that the last two syllables of classic sonnets rarely do. Whatever you think about this (and please let me know), I hope you like the poem.
A Permutation Chart for Network Conversation
An American Sonnet
November 16-24, 2011
Are we engaged in Ivy-League-like interaction,
two students swapping notes but yearning for connection?
Or is it more like cleverly discreet flirtation
that trends relentlessly toward market-place seduction?
Our fears on one side call it vain, unwise temptation,
without a single justifying explanation,
where even kindred souls fear ruthless exploitation,
and downward slopes can reek with rueful aggravation.
Our will-to-live, however, craves a new creation,
the timeless, subtle tingle of a fresh translation,
enabling us to craft a better explanation
that recreates our world with new anticipation.
Inquiry sharpens our awareness of these questions;
our choices thus informed will shape our destinations.
Copyright (c) 2011 by The Max Havlick School, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938.
More by this Author
- 2Shelley's "Mutability" (1821, edited 2011), with a workshop in honor of his birthday, August 4, 1792
We Celebrate the Birthday of Percy Bysshe Shelley, August 4th 1. On August 4, 1792, Percy Bysshe (bish) Shelley was born into a wealthy family near Horsham, Sussex (30 miles south of London). 2. Less than 30 years...
1. Introduction: Why read Shakespeare? We here read sonnet 18 with three interlocking tasks: first, to understand what it says and what it means; second, to understand how it pertains to Shakespeare’s lofty...
- 9What is an American Sonnet? Tuesday Workshop with new example, "A Man Without a Happy Wife He Loves"
Workshop: Evolution of the American Sonnet 1. The American sonnet has recently emerged with a slightly less restricted format than the traditional sonnet form derived from renaissance Italy (14th-century Petrarch) and...