On Tuesday, May 6, The American Scholar launched a website experiment in writing crowd-sourced poetry—in this case, a Shakespearean sonnet. David Lehman supplied the first line and picks subsequent lines from reader submissions. If you would like to enter, you must submit your line on the American Scholar site here.
Here is the sonnet to date:
How like a prison is my cubicle,
And yet how far my mind can freely roam
From gaol to Jerusalem, Hell to home.
Freedom ends or starts with a funeral.
Say what must die inside that I may not
Cast down this die and cross the Rubicon
Thence to the true hell: the heat of Tucson
Where drug lords blaze loads of coke, meth, and pot.
Freedom starts, or ends, with a funeral,
Line eight was suggested by Diana (no last name given): “Where drug lords blaze loads of coke, meth, and pot.” I like the way the line rubs our nose into a harsh reality. The succession of ten monosyllables and the strong alliteration of “r” and “l” sounds in the first part of the line clinch the deal. The line sounds a conclusive note to the first eight lines of our sonnet whether we take them as one block or as two four-line stanzas.
Continue reading and enter your line here.