This assignment is an encoded love sonnet. It will be full of things with secret meanings only you know, and hopefully rather unlike a traditional love poem. It doesn’t have to be addressed to a real person–it can be addressed to an idea or use an object as a metaphor in some way.
Get inspired by Kevin McLellan’s Ornitheology. The last section, Crown, is a series of contemporary sonnets.
You are NOT writing a formal sonnet with traditional rhyme and meter. Instead, you’re borrowing the 14-line structure (which you can optionally separate into two stanzas of 7 lines each, as McLellan does, into 8 lines and 6 lines, like the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch, or in any variation that makes sense to you), the theme of love, and the volta or turn, a sudden shift or realization in the poem’s logic.
Include the following in your experimental sonnet, and feel free to repeat the techniques more than once if they are useful to you:
-14 lines total.
-An opening line that addresses the beloved as an animal.
-A word that breaks at the end of one line and continues on the next in a way that tricks the reader’s eye. Like “man / ifold” (for example).
-A line taken from a reading you have to do this weekend for another book (cite it in a footnote).
-Anadiplosis: repeat a word from the end of one line at the start of the next line. (Copying the technique of the crown of sonnets, which McLellan is referencing, though not obeying, a series of sonnets in which the last line of one repeats as the first line of the next).
-An equation, math problem, or reference to a mathematical concept.
-A phrase in another language.
-The name of a bird
-The answer to one of the questions on page 29 of the book(view the book in attached files ).
-A line with a colon in it (see page 24 of the book for ideas).
-A line beginning “you are not.”
-Two words that are anagrams.
-A line beginning “I am.”
-A volta somewhere—a dramatic change in tone, sudden realization, interjection or other indication of a shift.
-A signature that uses word play to hide the name “Vancie”(close the letter however you like, just don’t sign your own name. Come up with a code word for the name Vancie).
I look forward to seeing what you come up with!