At TweetSpeak Poetry, we’ve arrived at the last weekly discussion of Kim Addonizio’s Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. Our discussion leader Lyla Lindquist has bravely led us through a veritable forest of counsel, advice and assignments for not only writing poetry, but it writing it better, writing it well, and even applying what we learn to all kinds of writing.
It’s a book that’s well worth your while to read.
This last section is entitled “Toward mastery,” so you know the assignments are going to get really serious. Here were but a few of the possible writing assignments we could undertake (and Addonizio thinks we should do them all):
Write a sonnet (remember that old iambic pentameter your English teacher talked about in high school? Well, it’s time to dust the iambs off.)
Write a deliberately bad sonnet (which, in my case, might not be difficult at all).
Do a close reading of a poem you love.
Perform your poem (as in, stand up in front of a live audience and read your poem and perhaps perform it). (That’s what I want to do – make a spectacle of myself.)
Make a broadside (like a one-page ad or tract or sheet with your poem on it, complete with drawings or art or designs). (I’m almost as bad an artist as I am a designer.)
Collaborate on a poem. (Possible; I’ve actually done something like that with TweetSpeak Poetry. It’s called a Twitter poetry jam, and you should try it sometimes.)
I decide I would write a sonnet. And I developed an idea that I borrowed from some fictional work in progress that just might see the light of day in about four or five weeks. The form is the traditional English sonnet (abab cdcd efef gg) (and those pesky iambs pentametering around the place).
I’ll let you decide if I wrote a sonnet or a deliberately bad sonnet (hint: both answers may be correct).
The Assassin’s Lament
So much of each assignment was a bore,
to wait, to watch, to think a plan straight through;
of all the skills required to do the chore,
to see the time was right was clearest cue.
And so he watched the pair so deep in love:
a golden boy with fame so broad, so far,
a golden girl with face from far above;
he felt regret and rued this bloody war.
The day arrived when he was told to act;
the wait was done, the price was paid to kill;
a plan of vengeance to become a fact,
his role, his fate he knew he must fulfill.
He’d watched too long, he’d seen the love so shared;
His heart of ice did melt, for now he cared.
To see what Lyla is up to and if any other iambs are roaming out there, please visit TweetSpeak Poetry.
Love the sonnet, Glynn, and that you were able to pull it from your current work. (Which, of course we're looking forward to seeing in the light of day -- assuming it's not written in iambic pentameter. If it is, I might have to say something like "I will not read it, Sam iamb.")
Thanks for your contributions to our book club and discussion.
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