A Guide to Understanding the Redefinition of the Sonnet


The sonnet is a noble little song,
that rambles with loquaciousness of yore.
In times of Twitter, quatrains are hardcore;
an octave and a sestet’s just so long!
And so decree the OED: So long!
The fourteen lines expected heretofore
will henceforth shrink by one per year or more.
TL;DR: yo, Shakes, ur doin’ it wrong!

Like tweets, the turn seems rash and vain and fast,
but nobody would dare to redefine
if all existing verse would break the rule.
So here’s the sanctioned way to fix the past:
just never read beyond the thirteenth line.
(Unless, of course, you’re not an April Fool.)

Apparently this month is National Poetry Writing Month (I think the ‘National’ is just there to make it sound official; no specific country seems to have claimed it), so I may as well see if I can write a poem a day. I have a lot of other things I ought to be doing, but I also have a commute I can write during, and that’s a whole lot of ten minuteses. I’ve heard that you can actually polish a turd, but I won’t have much time for polishing, so I’ll just have to try not to create any turds (or give a crap) in the first place.

For this poem to work, you have to pronounce tl;dr as the letters in it rather than as ‘too long; didn’t read’, and pronounce ‘doin” pretty much as one syllable. If you pronounce ‘lol’ as one syllable, feel free to substitute that for the ‘yo’. If you prefer, you can say ‘so decrees the OED’, but it won’t sound as good.

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