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.
Here's the sonnet thus far:
How like a prison is my cubicle
And yet how far my mind can freely roam
Of the winning second line, David Lehman writes: The many impressive second-line candidates left me undecided until the last moment when I opted for Leo Braudy’s elegant “And yet how far my mind can freely roam.” The succession of strong monosyllables broken only by the single crucial adverb won me over. Initially, I wondered at the wisdom of the turn signaled by the conjunction that begins the line; it seemed more appropriate for the pivot after line eight. On reflection, however, I thought it might be interesting to jump quickly to the paradox of freedom within constraints. It places a lot of pressure on the composers of lines three and four, which need to rhyme with “cubicle” and “roam” in any order.