rushthatspeaks: (platypus)
For centuries the novel told in verse
has neither read nor sold one-tenth as well
as books in prose (although they might be worse);
so Seth said to his muses, what the hell,
I've got this beat, this long-disused tetrameter,
my knowledge of a simile's parameter,
hilarity from all my friends, a pen,
a travel book in presses-- therefore, then,
present to me a sonnet-cycle/novel.
The muses said to Seth, we like your line,
and Berkeley's as good as any hovel
a poet's lurked in waiting for our wine.
Only we must as kind daimones warn you:
doggerel's what you'll get from California.

Seth didn't mind. The characters were sound,
the through-line true, the subtleties were there.
If sometimes cluttered near-rhymes ran aground,
the story-shapes should make the reader care.
And so they do. The book is very good.
Our protag, John, computer-jockey, would
like love, but all his head is out of joint.
His best friend Phil (who really is the point)
struggles with having to be a single father,
loves a man and loses him to God,
wonders why religion's all this bother,
is gently funny, sweetly loving, odd.
Triangles and circles, change of partners, seasons,
and life and death: the usual plotly reasons

apply as in the prose work of your choice.
But due to Seth's unusual form and mode,
his California has a stronger voice
than other authors have found down that road.
It's not roman à clef if it's a sonnet.
You get a different viewing angle on it,
a deeper heart, a joy in all this cleverness.
Not Great American Novel-- what ever is--
but a California Novel I will take.
I mean, the table of contents, dedication,
acknowledgements and bio do not break
the mold in which he worked his aspiration.
What should a cheered and tired reviewer do
but (for my sins) inflict some sonnets too?


rushthatspeaks: (Default)

March 2017

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