I have just realized shall be able to refer, obliquely, to last semester as “the semester of the sonnet competition.”
There was, indeed, a sonnet competition, judged this year by A.E. Stallings, and for weeks, our out-of-workshop workshops revolved around sonnets, as many of us attempted to write them. I didn’t try. It is only now, looking back, that I am surprised at myself for not having made the effort.
What better time to write a sonnet, than when all your friends are doing it? Perhaps (I know this is at least partially true) I thought their sonnets were so good I did not need to bother. Perhaps (also partially true) most of the things I have to say tend to be pleasantly unwieldy and exposition-heavy, and unsuitable, I thought, to the form. But why didn’t I try?
I don’t know. I think I half-have in mind a snarky comment made by one poet on another poet’s online post where the snidest thing he could think of to say was “Hey X. Still writing sonnets?”
Why have I still not–I think ever, really–written a sonnet as more than an exercise?
The line length is something I have never liked very much, either. I write lots of poems of these lengths:
12 lines (3×4)
16 lines (4×4 or 2×8)
15 lines (3×5)
18 lines (3×6)