Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Naive Necromancer

It's going to be an interesting semester. One of the classes I'm taking is Intro to Poetry Writing. It's starting off with sonnets, something I have always avoided writing. When I write poetry, I write long narrative poems in which everything is perfectly spelled out and it rhymes in neat little four line stanzas with an ABAB rhyme scheme. I always thought of sonnets as too small and too rigid for me to do anything with. I have to worry about iambic pentameter? Cramming everything into 14 lines? Not making it sound stretched out or condensed? Yeah, forget it. And then our professor went and made it even harder.

The assignment was to look up a wiki article about something we found to be interesting, make a list of words that are specific to that subject, and then write a sonnet that had nothing to do with it using those words. I thought this made the assignment much more interesting, and as I discovered later, it made it easier to write a higher quality sonnet.

I am a geek. I am someone who gets really excited about things I like, and makes an effort to know them well. When I find a new show I like, I look it up on TVtropes. When I think of starting some new project, I watch videos, sometimes for hours, about how to do it well. When I find new or renewed interest in a mythos, like Spider-Man or Batman, I read wiki articles on their histories, the characters, and past story arcs that I've missed. This makes it kind of hard to just pick something that I know almost nothing about. So I decided to go for something weird. I chose necromancy.Normally with a long narrative poem, if I really tried I could spit it out during a study hall or something in high school for fun. I'm in college now, though, writing a sonnet meant for public consumption. It took me over two hours to write this thing, but I'm very proud of the result.



The Naive Necromancer

So, to a conjuress of bones I went
To sacrifice the life of my best friend.
I wished to resurrect my fortune spent
Severing synapses that soon I’d mend.
The circle on his neck should have sufficed,
To sing his secret to my sorceress
To ride the pitch to paradise,
Dragging her to sweet new abjectness.
The jagged runes, then written on her heart,
Would finally complete the ceremony.
It’d be what it should, my work of art,
Eventually sealed in matrimony.
Never use one egg to crack the other;
You’ll break them both and then you’ll starve ‘til supper.


These are a few comments I received during the in-class workshop:

  • Metrically very tight,
  • Narrative intriguing & deft & dense.
  • Gets fuzzy in line 3
  • Did they lose money gambling or something?
  • Can the narrative be even clearer--
  • Gets fuzzier in the middle
  • Can we see more visual info?
  • Could it include more details about the conjuress?
  • Is she hot?
  • "Intriguing as all get-out"


My peers and professor liked it, but felt it was unclear in the details. What's the significance of the circle? The runes on her heart? Is she the dead one? I thought she was the conjuress? Sure, I know why I wrote this exactly the way I did, but they weren't able to glean everything from what I wrote. I look forward to revising it and hopefully making it even better before the end of the semester.I really like sonnets now. Thanks, college!


2 comments:

  1. I like it.
    Re: comments: "abjectness" is tough, the business of making a noun out of an adjective. And would using the conventions of a Petrarchan sonnet be useful to tighten up the narrative part of the poem?Octet, then sestet, volta line 9. Talk about rigid, that Petrarch had RULES

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  2. Hey, I read this today on tumblr, and thought of your poetry class. Thought it might help, or at least be interesting to read: http://www.joannemerriam.com/2013/01/12/notes-from-thomas-lux/

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