Friday, September 9, 2016

How to Write a Sonnet: A Student Guide

Are you writing a sonnet -- maybe for a class, or just for fun? Here's a guide for you.

My name is Gideon Burton and I have written thousands of sonnets -- and helped untold numbers of students compose their own. I've taught the history of the sonnet form, and frankly, I just love this form of poetry. Some do not. Some people HATE sonnets. I get it. They are hard. They have rules. Bad ones are painful to read. Good ones can be tough to compose. Hopefully this will take the sting out if it just a bit and maybe get you on the road to something of which you can be proud.

I've divided this guide into four parts:
  1. Know the Form
  2. Read Model Sonnets
  3. Imitate and Experiment
  4. Select a Subject

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day of Wrest

I stopped to watch this western sky today.
Day of Wrest
by Gideon Burton

The sabbath: day of wrest. I twist away
from all the rest. I shear and cut. I break.
This will not pass and press as other days
whose worried layers mud my mind. I make
a pause of purpose, better if I shake
up rhythms, sabotage, dislodge and blunt
efficiencies. If slow enough, I make
my week lie weakened, muted, stunned.
With time untied to let what's running run
itself away, I can be still -- am stilled,
and bold enough to hold, to wait, the sun
in slow progression warming -- if I'm still
     enough, apart enough, and emptied, calm
     enough to let Him salve me with His balm.

I drafted this three years ago in February 2013 and just discovered it in a notebook and revised a sagging stanza. This poem fits with what my church leaders have encouraged of late: more reverence for the Sabbath, more pondering, more spirit of worship. Taking time to be holy.