Thursday, April 10, 2008

Friday Poetry: A Crown of Sonnets

You may have noticed I write a lot of haiku (for April's National Poetry Month I'm writing at least one a day here). In my youth I was a free verse girl. But last fall I was thrilled to receive an invitation from Liz Garton Scanlon to participate in something called a "Crown of Sonnets" The idea is that each of us in the group would write one sonnet on a similar theme and they would all be hooked together. Here is where she shared another sonnet she had written in a different group: The Seventh Sonnet

This is how Liz explained it to us in her proposal:

"A Crown Sonnet is a string of seven interconnected sonnets. Each sonnet after the first one will use the last line from the preceding sonnet as its first line. The final sonnet (#7) uses the last line of sonnet six as its first line AND the first line of the very first sonnet as its last line. The perfect book-end."

Last winter at Writing and Ruminating Kelly explained how to write a Sonnet.

Well I have never been known for thinking over much before leaping and I saw this as a mind-blowing opportunity to work with some high caliber poet bloggers. I clicked "reply" and typed "yes please, count me in" before the email was lost in my inbox. Then I started to hyperventilate and terror set in.

Fortunately these other poets are thoughtful, responsible, nurturing souls. They are all proven poets and patient teachers. I am so humbled and blessed to be part of this group. I still have to pinch myself to know I am awake.

We chose a theme. We drew straws to establish the writing order. We worked all winter. One by one we plunged into the abyss and came up with a working sonnet. We were delighted over and over as each poem took shape. We opened a common document to read each other's work, offer suggestions for word choice and meter, and we revised. The thoughtful comments I received from the other poets drew my work from a rough attempt to an actual poem. After six months of effort we have pulled together a crown that I am proud and privileged to announce here.

The whole crown "Cutting a Swath" is presented in it's entirety at Liz Garton Scanlon's blog Liz in Ink.

Here are the the participant poets, in order, with the first lines of their sonnets (click to read at each one's site):

As shoes untied, you drag frayed words in trail - Sara Lewis Holmes

As lacy skirts, unbound, leap free and spark - Laura Purdie-Salas

Flying through life’s grand chaos, bright and vast - Tricia Stohr-Hunt

Because I live and breathe, to be set free - Liz Garton Scanlon

My name will be too small to hold me soon -TadMack

My eyes now disenchanted; my soul frees - Andromeda Jazmon

Through open window, past a well-scarred sill - Kelly Fineman

You've really got to go to Liz in Ink and read them right straight through all together! Then visit each poet's site and congratulate them. Here is my contribution to the crown:

My eyes now disenchanted; my soul frees
one stifled cry - then peace behind the door.
My room, my sacred space above the floor
is all that shields me from their strident pleas.
They've chosen out the path of life for me;
their scholarship a prize I would ignore.
I spurn the grind of their required score.
I cut them off. I beg them. Let me be!
I mark the time and hide myself away,
no greater plan than lay about and dream
within the walls that guard my fractious will.
My music pounds. The restless shadows play.
Light curls across a ceiling cracked and mean.
My window opens past a well-scarred sill.

The Friday Poetry round-up is here today. Leave your link in Mr. Linky below and be sure to come back later in the day to visit all the other poetry posts.


Sara said...

That ceiling "cracked and mean" is one of my favorite lines ever.

I'm so, so glad you said "yes."

Suzanne said...

It's beautiful. I am so impressed. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

I can't WAIT to read these sonnets together.

Jules, 7-Imp

Anonymous said...

Thank heavens you didn't think before leaping! Thank heavens none of us did. I adore your sonnet, Cloudscome. I do, I do...

Greg Pincus said...

Love the crown of sonnets. Thanks to all seven of you for sharing 'em!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I'll be back later today to read the crown sonnet. I must get to bed now--it's after 3:00 AM. I did want to note that in my interview with Janet Wong we discuss her experiences as a student in the master class on poetry taught at UCLA by the late Myra Cohn Livingston. Janet and I also extend an invitation to people to write a poem using three particular words.

Monica Edinger said...

This is lovely.

Hope it isn't terrible, but I cheated with my post for Poetry Friday since I actually posted it on Monday. I had just gotten the book and was so enthusiastic I couldn't wait to post about it!

Michele said...

Ooh ! I shall go and check out the Crown of Sonnets in a minute, but in the meantime, know that I'm in for Poetry Friday with some Sarah Williams this week.

Thank you for rounding up !

Anonymous said...

Thank you for hosting!

Tricia said...

Hi Andi,
Thanks for your great introduction to the crown. Here's my post (finally).
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading through the "Crown." Thanks for sharing it, and for hosting today.

Anonymous said...

Andi, your last two lines are one of the most beautiful images in the whole thing. "Light curls across a ceiling cracked and mean. / My window opens past a well-scarred sill."

That's the perfect image of hope every one of us (teen or not) needs!

Thanks for rounding us up!

tanita✿davis said...

I'm finally up with #5 - Thank you, Andi! This is unbelievable...

jama said...

What a very special Poetry Friday. The "Crown" is supreme. Thanks so much for hosting.

I'm in today with two poems about the Boston Tea Party.

Anonymous said...

Love that "well scarred sill" you set Kelly up with. Man, that gets my mind to whirring on why and what and when. Love it!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks for hosting. Love the process you shared, plus the sonnet! I'm posting daily this month. Today's post features Juanita Havill's new book, GROW.

Tricia said...

I too love your "well-scarred sill," but what resonates most with me is this.

They've chosen out the path of life for me;
their scholarship a prize I would ignore.
I spurn the grind of their required score.

I advise first year students and see this all the time--that struggle between what they really want to pursue, and what parents want for them. It doesn't end in high school, and boy, are those battles hard-fought.

You really wrestled with this and in the end, came out with something so emotional and strong. Well done fellow princess!

Kelly said...

Thanks for rounding up, Cloudscome. I love the Sonnet corona!!

I'm "in" with an organizational post this week:

christine M said...

What a great sonnet!

Thanks for doing the round-up. I'm in today with an original poem by my 5th grade daughter

Vivian Mahoney said...

You did awesome! The sonnet is beautiful.

Karen Edmisten said...

Today, I focused on your amazing crown of sonnets! Threw in my favorite one by Shakespeare, too, but mainly wanted to point people to the crown.

Congrats on such an accomplishment!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Thank you for hosting! I love the phrase "crown of sonnets" - so evocative...

I'm in with a really evocative poem by Walt Whitman, from Calamus - one of my all-time favorite Gay poems!


over at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" at

sheila said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. Now I have to go read them altogether. What a great idea.

Thank you for hosting. I'm in with something optimistic about April, and something cynical about April (and no, not the cruelest month, although I was tempted).

Anonymous said...

Wow, I have never heard of a Crown of Sonnets before, but what a marvelous introduction to the form! A great idea, and very well-executed.

Sarah Stevenson said...

The whole Crown of Sonnets idea is really cool and also very impressive! I can't wait to read the whole thing--looking at later this afternoon for a poetry-reading binge.

I posted my link. Thanks for hosting the roundup!

Karen Edmisten said...

Back again, as I'm just getting through all the posts and the entire crown. Just wanted to add that I love these lines:

Light curls across a ceiling cracked and mean. / My window opens past a well-scarred sill.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for hosting us this week.

Mary Lee said...

Ahhh...the sonnet was absolutely worth the wait!

And I see you eventually found my link. Thanks for getting me in. Maybe you couldn't find it because we're in different time zones and I forgot to say EST? No biggie.

The good news is that scheduled posting works! I'm so psyched!!!