Transom: In issue 2 of Transom, you said
“I am not a formalist poet by any means.” And yet, here we have a pair
of domestic sonnets in a form at once wildly strict and explosive.
Ah, but those aren’t sonnets! Those are rondels, part of the
rondeau tradition which my previous poems (triolets) were part of. So,
you could say that my interest in the triolet has blossomed out to the
other medieval forms of formes fixed, to such a point that poetry is
dovetailing into music and very rudimentary music theory. But these
poems are explosive in similar ways of the previous triolets you
accepted – dealing with a relentless refrain, which undercuts
rhetorical authority (which, in many ways, is the opposite of the
sonnets). The difference, I suppose, is that I’m now dealing with
lengthier refrains and denser strophes – that shit is hard! Most of my
experiments in this form and its cousins (roundelays, Roundel, rondeau
redouble, and the almost impossible rondeau cinquain) have failed. But
keep plugging away!
Nerves, you, the family dog, the gas line: what is it that is not – at least potentially – on fire?
Nothing in the opening eight lines – all
that open apposition in the grammar scheme. But in the final sestet,
there is a more pensive and wistful move in tone. And emotionally
stuck. I want to write more poems where the speaker is stuck – even as
everything burns down. I’m less inclined these days to think of myself
capable of enormous change, and thus want poems that isn’t all about my
Catholic upbringing and belief in transcendence. These poems are
domestic, yes, but also are real crises of faith, I guess.