A Sonnet to God

I had found a way in
with the sonnet, God,
in this glass vessel
of holy water –
reflecting the sun
while crystal rainbows
shined out into day –
divine assurance
//
unchanging deliverance
this almighty sound
in meter, this matter(s).
I will sing forevermore  –
a locket of light 
anchored in my heart.

an offering

 

I have included a link to a youtube video of Gregorian chant. I have been thinking about what I could share that could be both uplifting, peaceful and healing. I found this to be all of those in addition to more. It reaches the octaves of light –

on a side note the word Octave is actually also the name of the first stanza/movement of the Sonnet and the second/last stanza of the Sonnet is the Sestet. If you are overwhelmed with all that is happening in the U.S. with COVID-19, or looking for something to distract yourself and you like learning about new things, I suggest you check it out on Wiki. It’s pretty neat; search the word, Sonnet. Once you understand the Form of the Sonnet and the mechanics of it your experience of reading a Sonnet may change. Finally, for those really interested in the Form of the Sonnet, the transition from the Octave to the Sestet is probably the most important transition.

Here are the beautiful Nuns of St. Cecilia’s Abbey, with the link:

Gregorian chant on youtube

In Memory of Bill Knott

My Professor and Mentor, Bill Knott, passed away on March 12, 2014. He was a prolific poet, won numerous awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Iowa Poetry Prize, published by University Presses, Random House, Straus and Giroux, amongst others.

I will be adding reflections here, perhaps some assignments he typed for the class, poems I worked on with him, and if you’d like your comment shared, I will post your comment here too.

I get all guey when I think about Bill not being here, but that is absent to the fact that his teachings in poetry workshops at graduate school, his years of guiding me and mentoring me after graduate school is very present and in the moment here right now. Every time I write a sonnet, I write it from Bill’s years of guidance, probing, testing, teaching, practicing and intact memory of his voice and expressions of when I did something well and when I devastated a poem. He’d smack his palm of his hand to his forehead, “What? Why would you ever, ever do that?” “Get that out of there!” Bill was absolute with his work; passionate can’t hardly explain his dedication to the occupation of verse. Many poems he wrote, he would rewrite over and over, even revisting the same poem published ten years ago in one of his earlier books, he would reword, change a rhyme, change the enjambment, and then incoming another Bill Knott poem birthing. The only romanticism between Bill and I was our ceaseless and relentless love for poetry. Knott was also one of the few practitioners of poetry that could write about the cliched and over written “love poem” and do it well. Sometimes he remade a love poem, goose bumped would jump off the page. He worked and worked, giving to his students, writing reviews, rewriting poems; it was not just about his work, but he helped so many others, students or fellow poets, and readers. It is true, he was ungraceful and blunt when he didn’t particularly enjoy what he read. He was fearless (humorous as well) with the politics of the mainstream poetry as well, however. The beauty of working with him, however, was you never wondered what does he really feel/think? His later work was at times used against him. He was intentionally obscure at times, why? I think because he felt like it and rather simply, because he could. Many mysteries will remain when he started self-publishing fiercely and those never ending dark forces using poems against him, as seemingly evidence against any sort of greatness of Knott.

Knott was my biggest fan and encouraged me, when I needed it the most. Sentimental or actual, the factual is Knott was and continues to be precious to my heart. I hope this inspires hundreds of more readers, since his range is one of kind and brilliant. I believe he wrote only one Children’s Book of verse, (I could stand corrected) which is a shame, because he was gifted beyond anything imaginable when it came to perfect and slanted rhymes. In addition, I loved his book art. He often painted the cover of his self published books and included his paintings in book form. He was inspiring, endless inpsiration coming from just a few moments with him, unlike anyother.

I have a great memory of Bill at a poetry workshop while at Emerson College, in graduate school. In essence, Bill made a clear message to a student who made many judgments of the people she wrote about in her poem: “don’t ever condemn, ever.” Bill let the student know if she did it again, she would have the option to switch out of his poetry workshop for another workshop. I agree with Bill, poetry wasn’t a place intended to condemn people.

 

Books

SPACE From the trees the leaves came down until we joined hands with a wand and that act enabled them somehow then to reach the ground where they scuttered round our feet urging the latter to unite with a baton as if that act together with the hands can clasp a dowsing-stick cut from the same branch from which we launched converging on gravity's purge-point at which point we merged to remove all consonants from our star-maps. The infinite consists of vowels alone. The Unsubscriber. Knott, Bill. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004
Ashbery’s “Famous” Poem, underlined above was an ongoing puzzling error in American Poetry, as Bill probed.

Nature Sonnet

To follow nature,
we hold our children’s
hand to God’s door.
As this all matures,
with the weeping willow
and the joy in heart flowers,
we brush the Yellow Poplar.
To find the green showing

its vastness. Beginning,
with the greenhouse
to the color painted orchards,
the sun dances around
and the moon a time chart.
It is here, I say, Amen.