It was bound to happen, the Sestina would be assigned to the Ouliposters and today was it. I have to admit, with all of the poetry that I write, the Sestina and Villanelle are two that I have stayed away from because I’ve heard such horror stories. However, I do love my Pantoums and indulge in those quite often, so I thought maybe this wouldn’t be as bad as I’d heard if I just gave it a chance. I will say that I’m glad that it came on a Saturday when I had a few hours to devote to it in between some other commitments…and getting outside, finally!
Here’s how I came up with my sestina: Knowing I would need thirty-nine lines to complete this poem I grabbed forty-four sentences out of twelve different articles in the local newspaper (The Blade) that I felt were possibilities that I might be interested in working with. Then I decided on what the six words would be that would have to appear at the end of each line repeatedly (see the prompt below for the pattern) and then filled in the first stanza of six lines. Following that, I mixed and matched words and phrases from those sentences I had set aside from the paper to fill in the remaining five stanzas, the envoi (where three of the end words remain the same, but the other three end words need to appear in those lines as well), and the title. It was interesting to me how the words that I chose to end with (some I could see might lend themselves to an interesting “theme” and the others were wildcards) ended making more sense than I figured they would. Without further ado, here is my first (and probably not my last once I have more time to spare) sestina, my sourced articles, and the Oulipost prompt (also I am putting the link below again for you to be able to find other Ouliposters throughout the world and see what they are writing):
Inspirations Not Altered
He needs to reward a public where ordinary Americans found extensive snooping –
to forgive, it isn’t just about the message, but I did the arithmetic.
He’s spent nearly 40 years onstage his face covered in paint,
19 dogs and seven cats were recovered from his property.
Toledo winters usually are depressing because of dark and cloudy weather,
mythological arcs and Roman nesting doll storytelling.
A pastor says Easter is ‘Super Bowl’ for Christians. Arc storytelling?
It was an effort to diversify the character’s portfolio snooping.
Ohio has underperformed compared to the rest of the country’s weather.
It raises questions about whether it is truly arithmetic.
Three female cats were pregnant and one gave birth at the shelter property.
We disconnect and wish for a better world to paint.
Many elected officials denounced him as a traitor with paint.
Their offspring were not altered and the situation got worse storytelling –
only I wasn’t living in a dungeon under an opera house property.
Everybody comes from a different place in religion snooping,
it’s all in these video elements, the music that goes with its arithmetic.
Depressing because of dark, cloudy, golf outing weather.
It raises questions about whether it’s truly blimp weather,
its silver balloon-like body is emblazoned with explorer paint.
A record winter for sunshine? It was the biggest scandal in arithmetic,
misdemeanor ethics charges for failing to report mega storytelling.
Some music snobs would take issue with that snooping,
and still living in a dungeon under an opera house property.
We know there are skeptics who will come research the property.
Paul Stanley learned a lot from ‘Phantom’ wavelength weather,
stardom and wealth only marked the problem snooping,
nearly 40 years onstage covering his face in paint.
Some music snobs would take issue with that storytelling.
A problem: Three female cats were pregnant, one gave birth. Arithmetic?
I wish for a better world, but I also did the meaningless arithmetic:
Mega bus to end 1 of its routes through Toledo nesting doll property!
Lesbian research scientist who fell in love: pride storytelling.
Stardom and wealth only marked the problem, and traitor weather.
The ten finalists raised questions about music snobs and paint.
Overall employment slowed to a crawl, there are no dropouts snooping.
I wish for a better world, property in record sunshine weather.
More stardom in arithmetic and wealth through music and paint.
We need inspirational storytelling to reward character’s snooping.
AP. “Goodyear narrows possible names for new airship.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
–. “Paul Stanley learned a lot from ‘Phantom.'” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Barger, Ty. “A wish for a better world.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
–. “Pastor says Easter is ‘Super Bowl’ for Christians.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Blade Staff. “Mega bus to end 1 of its routes through Toledo.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
–. “Worthy honor.” Editorial. Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Chavez, Jon. “Jobless picture is dichotomy.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Johanek, Marilou. “Pope’s plea for forgiveness for sex abuse cases is not enough.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Mester, Alexandria. “Ex-owner is charged with animal cruelty.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Miner, Robert. “A record winter for sunshine?” Letter to Editor. Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Owen, Rob. “Orphan Black returns tonight to BBC America.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
Provance, Jim. “Ohio to invest $50M in WI real estate fund.” Toledo Blade 19 Apr. 2014. Web.
This will be one of your most challenging Oulipost prompts! A sestina is a poetic form of six six-line stanzas. The end-words of the lines of each stanza repeat those of the first, but in a differing order that in each successive stanza follows the permutation: 615243. The entire sequence of end words is thus: 123456; 615243; 364125; 532614; 451362; 246531. All words and phrases must be sourced from your newspaper text. (the three line envoi is optional – but it is commonly used in the sestina.)
See you tomorrow!