Exploring the Sonnet
Whether you’ve been writing sonnets for years, or have forgotten what iambic pentameter is, or never knew in the first place—this workshop is for you. The sonnet is a beautiful, flexible form that is as vital now as it was when Petrarch and Dante wrote in the fourteenth century, and when the Elizabethan writers (including You-Know-Who) went crazy for it in the sixteenth. Over the centuries, poets have continued to find a way to “make it new.” We’ll start with what will be either an introduction or a refresher on the basics of the traditional sonnet. After a couple of weeks of rhymed, metered sonnets, we’ll move on to the varieties of contemporary practice, which often throws many (if not nearly all) of the rules out the window. But the spirit of the sonnet haunts these works; we’ll look at how, and why, this form has been expanded and subverted to accommodate all kinds of experiments and all kinds of subject matter, from its roots in courtly love to political, social, and racial concerns.
Kim Addonizio is the author of eight poetry collections, two novels, two short story collections, and two books on writing poetry: The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within. Her latest books are a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin), and a book of poems, Mortal Trash (W.W. Norton). Her work has been recognized with a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, two Pushcart Prizes, and other awards, and has been translated into several languages. Her collection Tell Me was a National Book Award Finalist. She has taught at colleges, universities, conferences, and festivals, both in the US and abroad.