A couple of years ago, you may remember, I blogged about the sestina, an intricate medieval poetic form, in a post on my poem "Vietnam Era Vet." Well, it probably won't surprise you that I assign my poetry-writing students at the University of Northern Iowa to write sestinas. And for the most part (at least so I always thought) the students are okay with the form. This semester, in my Beginning Poetry Writing course, it didn't work out quite that way. Several people had quite a tough battle with the sestina. Here's a poem by my student Nathan that deals with that issue in simply hilarious ways.
Brilliant, don't you think? And you might quite easily feel the same as Nathan if you had looked up sestina in Wikipedia, say, and learned what the word-cycling pattern is called: retrogradatio cruciata. Doesn't that remind you of the Cruciatus Curse in Harry Potter, which "inflicts unbearable pain on the recipient of the curse" (Wikipedia)? Unbearable pain, indeed!
Nathan's genius touch here is in his repetons (the technical name of the repeated words
Okay, that's it for today. Hope you learned some schtuff about poetic craft. Like the rich consonance at the end of Nathan's poem: the instances of s, t, and n sounds in "Satan's sister, Sestina." Meh. I hope, even better, you had a good laugh. Word.
#amreading: SKELETON HILL, by Peter Lovesey
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