Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Crown of Sonnets

In a recent conversation, my poet friend Hale Thatcher introduced me to a startling concept: a crown of sonnets. 

Sonnets, traditionally, are 14 line poems written in iambic pentameter (5 2-syllable units per line, the 2nd syllable of each is accented), with a strict rhyme scheme. A crown of sonnets is 7 sonnets linked in this way: the last line of the first is the first line of the second, the last line of the second is the first line of the third & so on until the last line of the 7th is the first line of the first.

The heroic crown of sonnets goes further. There are 15 sonnets with the first 14 being linked by last & first lines. The 15th sonnet is the first lines of all the 14 sonnets in order.

Wow, I thought, what a great model for continuity in a series of paintings!

Then, sighing, I assessed that I wouldn't really get that model unless I wrote one.

So I did. Hale & I had also been discussing our fears for the world & our frail hope that our work as artists would somehow contribute to its cure. So beginning in the deep dark of waking one night, I wrote 15 sonnets about ecological trauma & the medicine of poetry & painting. It's called "Corona Gaia" & I'll be posting these over the next few weeks.

I'm making some hand-made book versions & a simple, illustrated chapbook. The image above is the cover of the chapbook.