When I consider the sonnet, I get a warm, cozy feeling, like when I think of an old friend. Me and the sonnet, we go way back.
Half a lifetime ago, there was the required memorization of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 for my English Lit degree. I still remember it. I swooned dramatically over the closing lines, “If this be error and upon me proved, / I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”
Around this same time, readings of Milton and Browning, Donne, Hopkins and Herbert, along with other greats exposed me to the delightful variety in this Steady Eddie form. More recently, Malcolm Guite’s work has continued to recommend the sonnet as a worthy vessel for truth.
My first public recognition as a poet came from my first attempt to write a sonnet – confidently named “Sonnet One” – which received 2nd place in the Conference on Christianity and Literature (1987). There was a “Sonnet Two” (not a prize-winner, but my favorite of the two), but then nothing in that form until a couple decades later when I wrote a sonnet for Thanksgiving in response to a challenge (I just can’t turn down a good writing challenge!).
So it is with the joy of welcoming a good friend into my home for a solid stay to catch up on memories and make a few more that I announce the sonnet as our theme on All Nine for February. I look forward to the contributions of our Muses to this memory making and celebration of the sonnet. And I invite you, Reader, to a-Muse us with your sonnets, thoughts on sonnets, or challenges to sonnet-ing. Comments welcome and much appreciated.