you blew me away with your entries, so much so that I had no idea how I was going to judge your works!
The devices, the figurative language, the imagery and tone.... I saw all your effort, felt as well as read your words. What do I give MORE sway to…
I finally put on my big girl britches and decided that I needed to judge via this order
1) Did the sonnet truly have a contemporary voice, fade the blueprint of its classic or modern counterpart, and yet feel of today/for today (and here is the truly hard part), WHILE KEEPING TO THE SUBJECT. Did the author capture what it must have felt like to be a female painter in the renaissance era, modern for her time? Never quite recognized by her peers? Did the poet catch the feel for one of her paintings, display its heart and keep it beating?
2) Does the poem excellent flow, does each line move the little song forward. Does the sonnet contain some kind of turn, however subtle, or perhaps a paradox, a contradiction? What about tone, what about clarity?
3) What language is used, what devices? Did something delight me with a twist of word? And what of observation? Did this poet say something in a new way? Did I feel moved by what I read? Did the poem emotionally connect me to its subject?
4) Did the poet refrain from using language traditionally seen or overused in sonnets? Did the poet keep the lexicon fresh or did he/she fall back on the tried and true? New territory is harder to cross.
And so, after all this, here are the winners.
BLESS YOUR PATIENCE
(and bless those who fixed my computer for under $70! Now I can close my contest the way I like to close it. Giving full kudos to all these beauties… no ??????? Cyndi kisses the monitor! )
I HAD to award a tie for first place, something I rarely do… I always expect to find one stand out. This time, I had two.
A Painter’s Pine
By Debbie Guzzi
The void calls through gossamer veils and widow's peak.
Shifty-eyed now of necessity I lie, bone-wrapped
in rosaries black as my rheumy eyes, death speaks.
Uncomforted by down or velvet, role trapped
corseted, board stiff with age like calf skin vellum
peeled and bloodied by the dual edged knife of man.
The scene is set and I shall not whimper, as do some,
or call to God, or blame the fates of those whose clans
remain earth-bound, when I have left this mortal glade.
Pigment on canvass, linseed loosed, stretchers taut, displayed,
all of this, I've had a plenty, and been royally paid.
My life was art, and it was art that fanned my life's flame.
So, stretch me on the pine boards and lay my edges down.
monochrome me in umber, drench me in shades of brown.
This one captivated me right away. Starts hard with the void. Immediately, I have a question. What void? Then a great deal of show no tell… the veils, the widow’s peak… The voice is retained throughout this piece. Its tone and imagery is impeccable. This sonnet is detailed, rich, and as ornate as any gown in the Renaissance period. HOWEVER, the enjambment, THE PACE of this piece, keeps it contemporary.
Love the internal rhymes happening. Oh, yeah!!!
I liked the Alliteration… Now of Necessity, Scene is set/ Linseed loosed/ Fan flame
I have said it again and again. Whenever possible find the exact verb that suits…or event one! Bone-wrapped, role-trapped… what a way to spin language! I am being inundated with sensory experience… soft and stiff, for example…
The last three lines are what won this the highest spot. Those lines hit me in a very real and personal way. Verbs in the last three lines by the way: fanned, stretch, lay, monochrome (as a verb! It works!) and the piece de resistance… DRENCH…
What can I say, Debbie. You had me at the void calls…
Virgin and Child
Matrix of allusions. Its intersections
dipped in the beckoning depths of chaste dark
to grow limbs like any other. To mark
a departure into a great mission.
Life dipped in a suave and rare medium
of strokes and streaks . Who would not sense
in the vision-flatness an equilibrium
of solidity and reassurance.
The harboring grid of hardened faith
is crowned with thorns of colored distractions
without the telling placenta of birth
but still-lifed in womb-dark meditation
I ‘m the virgin, the lactating breasts, the birth
I ‘m the baby of the resurgent earth.
When I read this, I sighed… repeatedly1 This felt so fresh, it knocked me off my feet. Literary art about visual art. Truly one of the best poems I’ve ever read anywhere. Jag took the form and shook the tar out of it. Each line is constructed with precision.
Ordinary? So far from that it that it left me feeling very humble as a poet. Again, we have someone who knows to start with a kapow. An image so strong we are wondering, what next? Where are you taking us?
I love the rhetorical question… a device underused.. one that works magnificently here.
And then we are not only taken into the artist herself.. but further … we are taken through her eyes to the actual work she is creating…. Further still, we are taken as far as her faith can reach … sacrificing self for art…an act of faith,yes?... for what is true art but a loss of self in the act of its creation?
The verbs thrilled me… dipped, grow, marked, crowned, still-lifed (YES IT WORKS)
And the last two lines? Divinity in every way!
By Leonora Galinta
In stillness of her spirit she sits there
with all her prowess she manipulates.
Her fingers’ ripples in coldest water
replenish mind and soul that ruminates.
Playing in nocturne, she’s being witnessed
by her governess . The simplicity...
Her portraits that adduce virtues she possessed -
laconic and clear view of chastity.
Oh, Renaissance woman, you shine on top,
as you incandesce in mind love of arts!
You’re a czar bringing our decorum up-
women’s pride… imbue modesty in heart.
In the silence of our heart, we listen
in these memorabilia… you remain.
Moody in the best of ways, this one. Prowess, great word… I have no idea as I write this blog who wrote this … I’ll add the name once I post the winners.. but the lexicon of this piece dazzled me. Replenish, Nocturne, Witnessed, adduce, incandesce, modesty, decorum.. all words which evoke another era. The break in lines, the use of ellipsis, slant rhyme… makes it all very contemporary. Such a balancing act!
I loved the repetition found in the last line, the echo effect. Well done!
Palettes of Her
By Nette Onclaud
Dark glowing eyes, a hazel bun, well tucked
and neat. Lips curve like shells in porcelain,
Awaiting to express, her brave conduct
That I could sense audacity, back when
Ladies bowed to men, such common duty.
Yet she possessed an ardent fire, heated
by graphic flair; sultrily chaste to be
among lords of glory. Oh, brushes red
Spill on fabric; If I could but explore
Her sprezzatura dripping lush oil, while
I breathe her strokes. My heart needs not of more
from galleries that hide a face beguiled.
My own dark eyes will memorize her hands,
Sprayed by palettes of brilliant renaissance.
Have you ever noticed how words are like jewels? When you take one and place it in a setting that is unusual, something truly beautiful can be created. Like “hazel bun” I love it… yes, the glow of colour usually used to describe eyes, works so well with hair! Sultrily chaste… wonderful. What a picture we are shown with this powerhouse sonnet. Whisked me away, this one surely did. STUNNING.
Mother's Unfailing Love
by Rhonda Johnson-Saunders
Our rising worship! Oh, perfect love of Mother and Child
is understood by adoring eyes. Eager hearts pray,
from the eternal breath of babe. Lifted high, strong yet mild,
He foretells of forgiveness and whispers agape.
Upon Mary's chest, lie His heavenly dreams -
a love of no measure born unto a Virgin
and sins evermore are assuredly redeemed
as God's blessed Mother cradles creation.
Her womb brought forth Light, the Savior of man.
Her gentle touch nurtured God's only Son.
The sacrifice, His blood shed to quench a dry land.
Prophecy fulfilled, so no soul shall be shunned.
Inspire us precious babe upon Mary's chest.
Mother's unfailing love gives comfort and rest.
So lovely and deep and filled with the language that I am fairly certain Sophonisba would have wanted to read herself.. read down, folks.. read the last word of each line. Each one a word of Christ…profoundly moving piece.
Sofonisba Anguissola, Pieta
By Carrie Richards
Gathered, to mourn in one deathless hour
Fragile, a test to faith's consummate power
Grief, which is stone cast, among five stricken faces
Softened by reverence, and mute, anguished traces
Weightless in her arms, but heavy for the eyes
Devotion anchors deep, painting tears that will not dry
Each pulse that pounds, each gasp one takes,
will rise, then, with awe, as the brush strokes create......
Lost, the desperate world, which honed new beginnings
Shattered, by the cost, as their world had stop spinning
The few souls, who cradle, unable to speak
would renew from a tomb, He would defy and retreat
For those who altered history, Sofonisba paints with eye and ear
Will they stutter, will they falter, or still deny that He appeared?
This is such a work of art, truly. I love especially the beginning of lines 1, 3, 9 and 10. YOU have painted such a picture here, three dimensional… and captured the aspect of immortality, both in art and faith. Fantastic depicture and well said!
Sofonisba by Craig Cornish. Enjoyed so much about this one. Loved the echo effect in lines 11 and 12—masterly done!
The Gentle Soul of Creativity – By Andrew Crisci..Very educational. Full of lovely images of artisans. Like a panoramic view! Wonderful.
Sofonisba - Young and Old – By Andrea Dietrich- I loved the turn from the octave for the young, to the final six lines for the aging artiste, yet some things remain the same, the echo of the black, is so well depicted. Lovely language. Crisp.
PIETA by Kechi Odibi– emotive. A timeless message of a mother’s grief told in a modern voice. Nicely done.
Boy Bitten by a Crayfish – by Dr Ram Mehta… I enjoyed the different take. And kudos for picking a different painting. Thank you!
The Start – By Sara Kendrick – So enjoyed how the subject is speaking of the artist who painted her… nice twist and well handled!
Chess – By Julie Heckman - a poem that made me smile for there are layers there… chess a game of strategy and there is no strategy to avoid the hours it takes to learn it. Nice use of irony.
Sofonisba Anguissola Self Portrait By Richard Lamoureux – I loved the use of questions, which makes this sonnet feel even more intimate, closer to the reader. A tender write, this.
1st women inspired art by Shanity Rain – loved the spirit behind this nonet and had to feature on the winners board…
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED MY CONTEST
Hope you enjoyed a look back as you stepped forward!