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May 06, 2010

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I love your piece, beautifully done! (And love the platypus poem too!) I love the form, I have written many sestinas, and unfortunately tore all of them up. Not a single one remains because I've never been happy with mine. Sonnets I can do with my eyes closed, but for some reason sestinas have defeated me.

Case in point: Here's a recent attempt 'The Time Traveller's Sestina', that turned into a 'The Time Traveller's Sonnet' - http://bit.ly/s4timetravel - Grrr!

Some day, some day...

I loooovvvve sestinas.

Jilly, I love sestinas too! We should develop a secret handshake to signify our affections.

Sam, thanks for the comments. I think you're on to something with the resonance between sestinas and sonnets. I think the need for a sestina to shift after the fourth stanza is very similar to a sonnet's volta between the first eight and the final six lines. And in Elizabethan sonnets, the closing couplet often uses the same compression techniques as an envoi.

Don't beat yourself up. A good sonnet's a lot better end result than a half-assed sestina! I know, having written a LOT of half-asses sestinas.

The sestina is one of my very favorite forms, though I have never heard of imposing a strict meter on it (that would make me sad as I am very very bad at meter!). When I was first learning about them, a poet friend told me that nouns were required for the end words (which I know now is not true) but I tend to pick nouns because it anchors the poem nicely. I like to research my nouns (yes, I always pick the words before I write the poem, seems to work well that way for me), and I end up having very fun poems that take on deep flavor. I've also found proper nouns are fantastic--I've used Istanbul and Katmandu (and with the research, the whole poem becomes like a history lesson!). Thanks for writing about this lovely form!

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