National Poetry Writing Month is nearly at at end. To celebrate it, try your hand at some verse.


Ronnie, the top banana in our bunch, is a fan of The Form. She posted this a while back. …………………………………………. /////////////////// ///////////////////

“The sonnet’s origins are on the small, sunlit courts of Sicily. It lingered there for two hundred years before it made the trip to into English poetry.” Don’t you love that line? If you love poetry in all its new and ancient forms, get the book “The Making of a Poem” by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. It is a Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. The grand Francine Prose calls this book “A generous selective anthology of poetry in forms that may make you decide to give up e-mails and start writing sestinas and villanelles.” I’ve taken her comment to heart. Though I’ve not given up e-mails, I am on a mission to write in some of the classic forms. So far, I’ve done a villanelle and a sonnet. The sestina is next on the radar screen. Wish me luck.

By the way, here are some basics about the sonnet from Strand and Boland. 1.) It is a poem of fourteen lines, usually iambic. 2.) There are two types with very different histories behind their forms: the Petrarchan and the Shakespearean. 3.) The Petrarchan sonnet is Italian in origin, has an octave of eight lines and a sestet of six. The rhyme scheme of the octave is ababcdcd and of the sestet cdecde. 4.) The Shakespearean sonnet was developed in England and has far more than just surface differences from the Petrachan. 5.) The rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet is ababcdcdefefgg. There is no octave/sestet structure to it. The final couplet is a defining feature. Give it try…. What have you got to lose?

OK, Ronnie, I’m in.

Hiss Off! : A Sonnet

Rows of tomatoes planted on hillsides

remind me now of the boy who threw snakes.

He made the cats howl, he riled up the drakes

and spooked the old nag that took me for rides.

He made it a sport; he tormented me

by tossing a snake headfirst at my face

and shoving one in my collar of lace,

making me scream when it tried to get free.


This cruel vicious boy who inflicted pain

his treatment of creatures was inhumane.

It was always my wish for that pervert

that he could feel how much it hurt and

that just one snake he pulled from its lair

would be a constrictor and him ensnare.

Toni 4/29/13


    1. Hi Patricia Sands…..
      I think lots of us poetry scribblers have that mind set about our work…. but I’d love to see yours anyway.


  1. Loved this, though my skin is still crawling with snake-shivers!! So, for the last day of April poems, here’s my oldest nonsense: “Mary. That’s me. I’m merry. Yippee!” Or, for you Freudians: “Mary. That’s me. I’m Mary. Yippee!” M.


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