December Workshop - Arielle

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Prof. Arielle Lemoyne
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December Workshop - Arielle

Postby Prof. Arielle Lemoyne » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:21 pm

I'm sorry I skipped out on November, but I'm jumping back in to get you all started for December! I'm sharing the one sonnet I have ever written, which only happened because it was a requirement. I was unhappy enough with it that I didn't even bother to give it a proper title. Help me out? And I'm excited to read all of your poems!


a single leaf on life's eternal tree,
one new cell pulsing through immortal veins,
a drop of water in the human sea,
one wispy string of grass grown in the plains.
Though different we all are part of one soul.
Our dreams and wishes bind us sacredly.
The human spirit shines from pole to pole,
so sing of progress, peace and unity.
But if our breathing planet flies astray
and plunges into dark despairing flame
can we escape, break free, and fly away?
And if we don't should we feel pride or shame?
    If the ocean current is already set,
    perhaps there’s nothing for us to regret.

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Jennet Jones
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Re: December Workshop - Arielle

Postby Jennet Jones » Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:26 am

The first half of this sonnet is about solidarity and the second half is about nihilism. But it's metaphorical enough that I'm not sure what the context is supposed to be. The dynamic is reminiscent of the flower children, preaching "peace, love, and understanding" under the shadow of a mushroom cloud. But it could also be taken in a more contemporary interpretation as being about climate change, the economy, or any of a number of similar issues where past choices can have long-running and potentially catastrophic impacts.

(I want to think of it as a "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately" message, but it's really not. It's not a call to arms - it even ends on a fatalistic note of disclaiming responsibility. It makes me sad.)

The turn here is really effective, because the moods are so high-contrast, yet tied together by a smooth transition. Starting the sentence with "breathing planet" solidly ties it in with the holistic imagery of the first half of the poem. "Plunges" is a vivid verb that conveys the violence and urgency of the second half. "Flies astray" strikes a balance in the middle, cushioning the transition.

There's a lot of redundancy in lines 8 and 11, and in a structured form like a sonnet it feels like padding - words added just to make the line scan. Is there somthing else you could do with those syllables to contextualize the message?

The scansion is a little bit off in line 13. You might want to change "the ocean current" to "Ocean's current" or something? Anthropomorphizing forces of nature is totally a thing!

I liked the juxtaposition of unexpected adjective-noun combinations in the first three lines. It wakes the reader up, and the parallel structure makes it clear that these are all metaphors for the same thing. I might reshuffle line 4 to add a similar adjective to "plains".

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Lavinia Rookwood
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Re: December Workshop - Arielle

Postby Lavinia Rookwood » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:41 pm

I think there's some really lovely ideas through here. You really explore how everything is just this one element built upon one each other, which then builds into a this idea of a collective human spirit. And then it all goes to rot. No, not really, but I actually like that you were willing to explore this sort of nihilistic ending. In the end, what does it really matter? I find that interesting because I don't find alot of poems with that sort of theme.

I think your overall structure is nice, the twist is well done. I will agree that it doesn't seem quite like a sonnet however, despite fitting the pattern. Perhaps I just too closely associate sonnets with very formal language, which yours (rather thankfully!) lacks. But as a poem, it stands up very well.

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