Friday, February 19, 2010


My friend the poet Rebecca Foust
will be coming down to Santa Barbara
soon to teach a mini-course on
the sonnet while in town for
a reading. Been thinking about
the magic 8/6 structure of the
sonnet and the way it seems to
work even when unrhymed
("gigantesque," I believe Lowell
called the unrhymed sonnet effect
in his HISTORY).

Here's an example, loosely rhymed,
a poem that's "never been kissed,"
tinkered with over many years,
always rejected by editors (always,
to the poet, a mystery as to why).


Some seek perfection, a seamless fit,
but something always muddens if
it’s found. Better an off-beat sound.
Better to cultivate rough weeds
to mar a neat, relentless lawn,
strike counterthrust of flint to stir
a spark to flare a shining on
from edges less well-met.

Take crystals: at a “chaos-point”
they seed -- where atoms make no sense.
From matter slightly out of joint
appears each little face that glints.
Weavers insert a deft flaw in their fabric
by which the soul of the maker springs free.