Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Joy of Sonnets

The joy of sonnets is that you must say everything in only fourteen lines, or, if you have less to say than fourteen lines, you must fill in more to fit in fourteen lines.
Shakespeare was the master. Read a sonnet of his and it seems perfect, as if his original thought came to him in sonnet form.
This is one of my favorites. Read some more here: http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/


When in the chronicle of wasted time
I see descriptions of the fairest wights,
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme,
In praise of ladies dead and lovely knights,
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
So all their praises are but prophecies
Of this our time, all you prefiguring;
And for they looked but with divining eyes,
They had not skill enough your worth to sing:
For we, which now behold these present days,
Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Favorite Poem

To Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.


The sensations that come as you read are easy and pleasant. This is beautiful.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My name is Gabriel Friesen. I'm a sixteen year-old living in Southern California. Poetry is something I haven't always loved, but I've liked it ever since my mother told me to read John Ciardi's How Does a Poem Mean? (which I highly recommend) and have been devoted to it ever since I read John Keats' On the Eve of St. Agnus.
So what's the point of this blog? It is to feel the pulse of poetry, to show the tenderness of language that good poetry expresses, that poets express to the reader; to advocate the art of reading poetry. The latter comment might sound wierd, and I admit that it borders hyperbole, but it deserves the emphasis I give it. Too often do people fall to the temptation to write "poetry" and never read it. To say something to the world, with lots of emotion (I guess), but without any craft about it at all. This false motivation is deteriorating the art form.
My favorite way of expressing this is by quoting Ciardi: "A poet must have a sense of the whole language stirring,"–in other words, must feel the pulse. Poetry is expressing the most tender feeling; not the most blatant message. Connotative rather than denotative. Take notice of bad poetry through history; most of it either pushes morals, is preposterous, or hopelessly unconvincing, but most of all, lacks sensitivity of language.
The paradox of it all is that in order to understand this, someone has to convey the message. Oh well.
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