Sonnets, Chad Davidson and Fly Fishing

July 28, 2008

So, some phony-baloney blogger accused me a while back of not being capable (or having the right?) of writing reviews because I wrote sonnets about fishing. Well, I never once in my life wrote a sonnet about fishing. So there. But I somehow must have internalized that criticism/inanity because IÂ’ve been writing curtal sonnets about fishing (and not fishing) while in Taos, NM for two months this summer. IÂ’d share one with you, but youÂ’ll see all these poems soon enough in Time Magazine or some fancy publication out there alongside Cormac McCarthy or someone even fancier than that. And itÂ’s not just redneck fishing with worms and a bobber, but itÂ’s fly fishing, doggone it. Refined.

I taught a forms class last spring, and the class had a fine time discussing the curtal sonnets one week. Hopkins, of course, because he invented the elegant form, but we also read fine curtal sonnets by Chad Davidson and Leon Stokesbury and Richard Foerster. The class thought that there was this powerful spiritual element embedded in all these poems (all of Hopkins, of course) alongside the element of time-cut-short, which ostensibly fits with the formal elements of the poem. So does the curtal sonnet naturally avail itself to the spiritual and/or this anxiety of Time running out. It has been argued that ShakespeareÂ’s sonnets have in common this focus, this obsession of Time. Does the curtal sonnet emphasize this, as well, formally? Anybody know of any other good contemporary curtal sonnets?

I wrote two curtal sonnets about one river. Since they both work together, I think theyÂ’re one poem, so IÂ’m calling them a curtal double sonnet. At first I called them a double curtal sonnet, but then I thought a doubly curtal sonnet would be half a curtal sonnet (more like a haiku) so best to put the curtal first. Poets.

Speaking of Chad Davidson, heÂ’s the poet of the month at
and he even mentions yours truly. His statement about his “Bigfoot Poetics” is hilarious and spot on. You can check out a few of his poems on the site as well. Chad’s next book is coming out in October, and it is killer. Hide and watch.

My wife just came in and said, You know you’re in Taos when you go to the post office and ask the mailman how he’s doing and he says, “Groovy.”

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