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.



At February 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM , Blogger Prof Thommes said...

Hi Barry,

I'm one of Coco's friends, the one from Tara Mandala to whom you bequeathed "Food for the Journey" while you were here for Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Do you remember me? In any case, I've just come out from a three week solitary retreat, during which I reveled in your poems every morning, 4:00 am, first thing. I LOVE THEM! Thank you very much for your precious gift and kind words. I'm grateful for your presence in this good old world.


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