Monday, May 09, 2005

The MH sonnet class was wonderful. I'll do my best to sum it up, before I plop off to bed.

She began with a short history of the sonnet, interesting tidbits such as: first form to be written for the vulgate (Italian, 1215, Sicily), and also first form to be written with the intention of being read silently, privately, as opposed to publicly recited or sung. As such, available to anyone who could read/write (i.e. anyone with enough of an education to form a private sense of consciousness), and women too. First female sonneteer, 1250, "La Coza", wrote a sequence of the things to her father, imploring him to not force her into an arranged marriage and instead send her to a convent, where she could study and write in peace (no mention on her father's final decision, though).

Then we read a bunch of sonnets, no surprises (Shakespeare 73, Donne's "Batter My Heart", Hopkins' "No Worse", Brooks' "Rites for Cousin Vit") really, but we spent enough time talking about them (monosyllabic active verbs in the Donne, for example, and the power nonparticipled verbs can carry, that sort of thing) that it had the energy of discovery. Then a break, then back to spend some time on our creations. Only timefor two, though, I got lucky I guess, went first and people basically liked it. The only editorial suggestion MH offered was to lose the final word, to go with the off-rhyme of "season" and "man". But there was a lot of appreciation for the word-play, use of indeterminacy, oceanic give and take too.

Lots of good sonnets there, which makes sense, anyone who signs up for a class like this will probably be invested in the form. Still, it was impressive to read that many intelligently figured out little poems all at once.

In general, MH is very perceptive and generous, and I left feeling much gratitude, moreso than I expected, really. The class had a great atmosphere. I think maybe the EB class was a little harsher than I realized at the time, nice as people were in their comments. Anyway, it helps always to get that praise-feeling in a workshop setting, especially when you don't expect it. I still need to work that last line, though, I know. All in all, a wonderful experience; a wonderful class, and a wonderful teacher.

Ok, good night.

Now I really want to take a class with her--*lol*--I esp. loved the "La Coza," history. Thanks for the recap!
She is NYC-based, maybe the 92nd st y would have something? Worth watching.
Wow. I love the sonnet form. I envy your experience with MH, though I'm not sure I could write one under the pressure of writing one for MH, so I admire you too. Very cool.

Thank you!
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