How to Write a Sonnet

Qwiklit

The sonnet is perhaps the most misinterpreted style of poetry in the English language. For too long, it has been associated with Shakespearean dandyism and caricatures of half-witted Don Juans trying to woo their lovers with pithy flower metaphors. This myopic view has prevented many aspiring poets from honing their craft and incorporating structure to their unstructured verse. I’m here today to teach you how to write a sonnet, but I also want to explain how it can be beneficial for the average writer–and even the non-poet–to use the sonnet as a training ground for keeping ideas sound and cohesive.

OK. But what is a sonnet?

A sonnet is a 14-line poem developed by the Italian poet Petrarch (1304-1374) during the 14th century. Enamored by a lifelong love for a mysterious and elusive woman known as Laura, Petrarch composed 366 of these poems (for every day of a leap year) that…

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Mr. Hockey’s Final Shift?

sethpoho.com

If you asked me who I thought was the greatest hockey player of all time, I’d say, without even a second thought, Gordie Howe. Mr. Hockey had it all, size, speed, strength, smarts and more importantly that desire to win. It’s hard to believe that we will live in a world without one of the game’s greatest legends and ambassadors.

The 86 year old suffered a stroke over the weekend and fears maybe that the hockey great, as son Murray said, “I feel like this is his final lap around the rink.”

It’s hard to imagine Howe, whose daughter Cathy mentioned in an interview yesterday, that her father lost the use of his right arm and leg, can be weak. This was the same man who endured years in the punishing Original Six days of the NHL. The same man who played all 80 games, at the age of 51…

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15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes that will Kill Your Children

projectophile

The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.

Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).

im_certain_none_of_these_children_reached_adulthood We can be reasonably certain that none of these children reached adulthood.

As a public service, Projectophile is alerting its readers to the dangers posed by key elements of mid-century modern residential design.

1.  OPEN LEDGES:

I love open, flowing space as much as the next modern girl. But I know it would only be a matter of minutes before my kid flings himself off one of these deadly ledges…

ledge5redarrow Red arrows show the direction of travel of children’s bodies

ledge2 What four-year-old can resist that hidden nook?

ledge4-read arrow That’s going to…

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Irish Bakewell Buns

cookingwithcraic

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Growing up in Canada, I’d never really heard of bakewell tarts until a few years ago.

In fact, since I moved to Ireland almost exactly 1.5 years ago, I’ve been introduced to a whole slew of new things (I’m sure you’re shocked to hear that).

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Some things I’ve learned:

1. Sliced Pan = sliced bread

2. Potato chips are crisps. Most of you know that. But did you know crisps can be a sandwich filling? And, in fact, all you would need for this sandwich are crisps, sliced pan and butter? Did you know that was a thing? I didn’t.

3. When someone asks you if you want salad with your sandwich at a cafe and you say yes, you generally get several kinds of mayo-laden potatoes and coleslaws. Gotta say, I don’t always mind. I really like mayo.

4. What we think is breakfast in Canada is a piece…

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Words Not To Say In Front Of My Kids

Dysfunctional Literacy

I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they'd better not say. (image via wikimedia) I tell my kids they can think anything they want, but there are some things they’d better not say. (image via wikimedia)

I told my daughters this morning that they’d need to take a sack lunch to school tomorrow, and they laughed at me.  I wasn’t expecting them to laugh.

It took me a moment to realize why they thought sack lunch was funny.  When I was their age (around 35 years ago), sack lunch wasn’t funny.  I carried a sack lunch to school every day, and nobody laughed.  I think I even called it a sack lunch.  Everybody called it that.  But somewhere along the way, kids picked up on the word sack, and a new source of humor was created.

Now I can’t say sack in front of my daughters; I have to say “brown paper bag.”  If I had two sons, maybe it wouldn’t matter much.  But…

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Where I Find My Poetry…

A Fullness in Brevity - Adam Byatt

At band rehearsal this week (I play in a covers band for weddings and corporate functions) I scribbled this onto a scrap of paper between songs as the band rehearsed with a drummer who is filling in for me for an upcoming gig.

I’d had the title floating in my head for about a week and an idea of what I wanted to write. Originally I intended it to be a simple blog post about how I, as a writer and poet, find my inspiration and ideas. 

The idea was composting in my head and while I lounged behind the sound desk I scribbled this out.

Where I Find PoetryWhere I Find Poetry

while searching for loose change in my pocket
between the first splash of milk
when I make a cup of tea
and stir in the sugar
waiting for the hot water to come through
in the shower and I’m standing…

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An interview with David Winters

truce

What motivations shape a critic’s decisions to write about the books they defend and those they dismiss? And what are the ethical or moral dimensions of those decisions? Beyond mere conflicts of interest, what lines do they draw for themselves in their work? Are there personal forces or experiences that affect their preferences about what to read and review?

In thisongoing seriesof interviews with critics, one of the central questions will be, “What is a critic’s role?”  It’s a broad question, open-ended, but one which can be used, if the critic chooses, to address the personal side to their lives as critics, and perhaps how they see their work affecting society and culture.

For the second post in this series, I’m very pleased to present an interview with David Winters. Our conversation took place over email in recent months.

David Winters is a literary critic living in Cambridge…

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Why all research findings are false

The Devil's Neuroscientist

(Disclaimer: For those who have not seen this blog before, I must again point out that the views expressed here are those of the demonic Devil’s Neuroscientist, not those of the poor hapless Sam Schwarzkopf whose body I am possessing. We may occasionally agree on some things but we disagree on many more. So if you disagree with me feel free to discuss with me on this blog but please leave him alone)

In my previous post I discussed the proposal that all¹ research studies should be preregistered. This is perhaps one of the most tumultuous ideas that are being pushed as a remedy for what ails modern science. There are of course others, such as the push for “open science”, that is, demands for free access to all publications, transparent post-publication review, and sharing of all data collected for experiments. This debate has even become entangled with age-old faith…

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