NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 23


All Dressed up for Senior Prom

Feeling Pressed

I hate when asked to write a sonnet
the formula is difficult at best
I want to spend my weekend sipping
fancy cocktails spiced with scotch bonnet
not waste my time on meter or wrest
with rhyme this form is clearly whipping
my behind. Poor poet cannot keep focus
the laundry calls while I am chipping
away these lines I’m feeling pressed
perhaps a little hocus-pocus…
Is it slipping?

NaPoWriMo Prompt – Today, I challenge you to write a sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets are 14-line poems, with ten syllables per line, written in iambs (i.e., with a meter in which an unstressed syllable is followed by one stressed syllable, and so on). There are several traditional rhyme schemes, including the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnets. But beyond the strictures of form, sonnets usually pose a question of a sort, explore the ideas raised by the question, and then come to a conclusion. In a way, they are essays written in verse! This means you can write a “sonnet” that doesn’t have meet all of the traditional formal elements, but still functions as a mini-essay of a sort. The main point is to keep your poem tight, not rangy, and to use the shorter confines of the form to fuel the poem’s energy. As Wordsworth put it, in a very formal sonnet indeed, “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room.” Happy writing!

Ugh! Sonnets are too formal and I was busy thinking of a different kind of formal today. But lo and behold I pecked out some lines from my keyboard. Curtal Sonnet don’t worry I’m not impressed with my effort tonight either. But aren’t those a good looking bunch of seniors dressed for prom?


NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-six Curtal Sonnet

Ode to St. Hubert

Saturday morning struggle with rhyme
Look up sonnet accosted by math
Can numbers help me wax poetic
An octave has eight lines, but here I’m
Writing six to stay on curtailed path
Then divide by two quite frenetic

But wait, there’s another knot to fray
The final quatrain adds aesthetic
Instead of four lines it starts to stray
Adding a half to earn my wrath
with arithmetic


NaPoWriMo Prompt – Now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who wrote his “family member” poem for Day 20 in the form of a curtal sonnet. As Vince explains, the curtal sonnet is shorter than the normal, fourteen line sonnet. Instead it has a first stanza of six lines, followed by a second stanza of four, and then closes with a half-line. The form was invented in the 1800s by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who used it in his famous poem “Pied Beauty”. So for today, I challenge you to give the curtal sonnet a whirl. It doesn’t need to rhyme — though it can if you like — and feel free to branch out beyond iambic pentameter. Happy writing!

I hope everyone read the prompt. I did not; the link for Pied Beauty caught my eye, and I clicked on it.  I think it was too early in the morning, because I couldn’t grasp the rhyme scheme so I googled curtal sonnet.  Let me tell you, it was definitely too early for THIS. I was an English major NOT a mathematician.  However, math has been a subject of note in this house of late.  My oldest will be a junior in high school next semester.  Because of her excellent grades, her school will pay for her to take four college courses each semester next year.  She wants to earn her AS with her high school diploma, but to do that she first had to place into MAT 151.  Upon retaking the placement test at the college, she scored a 56.  Well above the needed score for MAT 151 and apparently it’s become a competition to beat her score.  One of her classmates looked up the patron saint of mathematics for those interested in the title of my poem.  Praying to the saint wasn’t helpful.  He only scored a 53. Yes, he got above the needed score for the course he’ll be taking, but it didn’t beat my daughter’s score.

However none of this matters because after I figured out the rhyme scheme for the curtal sonnet, I read the rest of the prompt – It doesn’t need to rhyme.  Serves me right to get distracted by pretty, shiny links. 😉