, ,

Hello poets and strugglers with the Sestina. I think most of you have already found out that being steered by the end-word is the really hard thing about writing any form (and especially a sestina) is the “fence” that end-words sometimes can be, but with some additional flexibility these words can become like cairns leading the poem in the right direction rather than the brick-wall at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Most of you probably already know what Homonyms are, but here is a brief description.

Homonym: Two words that sounds and (sometimes) are spelled the same but with different meanings (sometimes called homophones).

As an example the word bear can both mean the animal bear or the verb. Another example is to, too and two where the pronunciation is the same but neither spelling nor the meaning. What is you and what is ewe?

The use of Homonyms in poetry is a very good tool for wordplay and fun and is a great tool in our toolbox. In the Sestina it can a crucial element to avoid a poem that becomes too repetitive by being locked in only one meaning of the word. I view the possibility a little bit like coming to a crossroad where you are getting the option to turn left instead of going straight ahead.

If you google Homonyms you will be able to find your own source, but here is one.

I understand that this prompt does not really help you in editing your old sestina, but if you are stuck or have the patience to write a brand new one, try to select a few homonyms among the one you use, and then whenever you reach that world try to select the path that seems the most natural. I leave it up to you if you allow for different spelling or if you restrict yourself to those homonyms where the spelling is identical.

The prompt is open another 2 weeks so you will have plenty of time to write something, and even if you don’t write a sestina this time. Keep this in mind and use it for something else. Next week we have an OLN and then you can add your homonym poem even if it’s not a sestina.

We are continuing to write sestinas and I will continue to read yours. I hope you feel ready to write a second one.

Have fun.