How Cool Is This?!

2 06 2014

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Molly Peacock will teach a master class called “The Art of the Turn: Techniques for Change in Sonnets and Villanelles”…I love it!  This increased emphasis on the turn in poetry is very heartening.  (N.B.: I’m not claiming any responsibility for it–I’m just glad to see it taking place…!)

So, if you’re interested in the turn, get to West Chester University in two days.  There, you can discuss the turn with Molly Peacock, and hopefully with a number of other conference participants who have done work on/with the turn.  (Critical/scholarly work, that is…it’s hard to imagine any strong poet who has not worked with the turn in their poetry…)  For example, craft workshop leader Annie Finch and poetry consultants Ned Balbo and Jehanne Dubrow all are contributors to Voltage Poetry.  (Read Annie’s reflection here; Ned’s here; and Jehanne’s here.)  Additionally, poetry consultant Kate Light has written a sonnet, “And Then There Is That Incredible Moment,” that I take to be one of the great poetic statements of the turn’s power to surprise.

If you can’t make it to the conference, explore this site and the Voltage Poetry site.  Here, there’s evidence of how the turn can be used productively to help students make significant new work: Scott Wiggerman discusses a workshop that he led on the turn (and offers some great examples of student work), and I discuss a lesson using the metaphor-to-meaning structure (and offer some excellent student writing that came from it) here.  Additionally, there’s plenty of reflection on the place of the turn in the sonnet, including some thinking about the importance of the turnthe turn’s literal place in sonnetsthe volta and, as Christina Pugh calls it, “sonnet thought,” and how to use the turn to “raise the net” on the sonnet.  Over at Voltage Poetry there are a host of reflections on the thrilling turns in sonnets, but there also is a terrific reflection, called “Two Villanelle Voltas,” by Beth Gylys, on the turns in Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.”

Turn, turn, turn!

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I Have Seen the Light

23 01 2011

Kate Light’s “And Then There Is that Incredible Moment,” seems to me to be

the theme song / fight song / rallying cry / mission statement / motto / ode / passionate acknowledgement / hymn

to / of / about

the power of the poetic turn to surprise / delight / illuminate / inspire / ignite / empower.

I admire this sonnet for how it clearly praises the poetic turn, “that incredible moment, / when you realize what you’re reading…is not what you expected…where you thought you were heading.”  But I admire it even more for the way it clearly and distinctly links passionate reading with the determination to write and to teach, to construct and to share more of those incredible moments, to offer the amazing “ride” of the turn to others, and to encourage those others to share, in turn.

***

To read a few more poems which offer “that incredible moment,” check out Voltage!