It’s the final day of this course, Day 10, which offers the following challenges:
- Prompt: future
- Form: sonnet
- Device: chiasmus
A sonnet is normally composed of 14 lines of verse.
There are several ways you can split your sonnet into stanzas (if you wish to), though the most common ones are 8–6 and 4–4–3–3.
Likewise, if you decide to use rhyme in your sonnet, you can choose between various rhyming schemes, like ABAB BCBC CDCD EE, ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, or ABBA ABBA CDC DCD, among others.
At their best, something happens between the first and last verse, and especially between the first eight and final six lines. You want your reader to have experienced something more than just a brief sonic pleasure. You want to present a fully-formed thought.
At its simplest, a chiasmus is essentially a reversal, an inverted crossing (it got its name from the greek letter chi – X)… From a fairly straightforward reordering of words — where A and B are repeated as B and A — a chiasmus can develop into more complex structures: instead of words, phrases. Instead of phrases, ideas or concepts. Chiasmus is effective in poems because it’s a form of repetition — and by now we all now how crucial repetition is for poetry. But the reversal injects the repeated words with freshness, and allows us to play with (and radically change) the meaning of a line.
I had seen today’s assignment last night, so when I came across this article, I knew it had to be my future subject.
A Brave New World?
In an article in The Guardian a doctor announces,
“Full-body transplants could take place in just two years.”
Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero says he should be able
To graft a living person’s head onto a donated body.
This procedure could prolong the lives of people with terminal illness,
Canavero says, and he’s developing a program
To train neurosurgeons to do the complex surgery
Necessary to make the procedure work.
Forget the complex surgery. What would it be like
To wake up inside a brand new body? Would the brain
Think it lived inside an alien creature?
And what about the consciousness that once belonged to the grafted brain?
Would it still retain its sense of identity?
The brain does not = consciousness, nor does consciousness = the brain.
2 thoughts on “WordPress Writing 201: Poetry Class, Day 10”
When I read this in The Guardian I literally stared open mouthed at the article for quite some time. I just could not get over what you’ve expressed, imaging my head on a completely different body… It’s fascinating. What a fab idea to use it for your sonnet, great piece.
Thanks, Laura. When I first saw the article, I thought I was reading “The Onion,” not “The Guardian.” This truly is mind-boggling to contemplate.