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Sonnetto Poesia Vol 2. no 1
Table of Contents
1 Christmas sonnets de NoŽl
2 Christmas sonnets de NoŽl
3 Winter sonnets de l'hiver
4 Xonnets
Back Issues

  Sonnet style: The New Tuberism

  A Potato's Thoughts

  This is an article about The New Tuberism - a sonnet
  style which I have been secretly using for years...


In my capacity as a potato sonnetteer of Describe Adonis, and occasional contributor to poetry groups web-wide, in this article I shall attempt to clarify the conceptual thoughts behind what has become known, in popular sonnet culture, as The New Tuberism.


We all know that a sonnet is usually comprised of three quatrains and a couplet, much as one's mid-week menu may consist of three courses with perhaps a lamb cutlet, and hopefully no potatoes will be harmed in the making. So what, you may squeal, is so different about The New Tuberism? Well, my pumpkins, the difference is in the actual content, not in the structure, of a New Tuberist sonnet.

Firstly, ensure that potatoes are mentioned, in some context or other. The sky is the limit here. There are many different races of potato - just look at the visual difference between a sweet potato and a King Edward. My personal roots are in Cara, yours may be elsewhere.

In the second instance, think Camp. Think Very Camp Indeed [VCI]. Few things in this world can bring more delight than a drag potato, save perhaps two drag potatoes. Gaiety, Campness, and Flamboyance are the order of the day. Be bold with taffetta, go mad with colour, luxuriate in lurex.  Let your words shimmy and sashay on the page, bring your words to the world tied with a pink bow and borne by Renaissance cherubs and powder-blue penguins singing the Hallelujah Chorus on roller skates. For this is what fans of the New Tuberism truly desire; it is the pink fluffy heart of the madness of romance.

Here is a New Tuberist Sonnet I prepared earlier (minus the lamb cutlet):

      Sonnet of Potato Versus Pixie

        © The Potato Of Terror, 21/4/01

        The terrible dark gnomes of deepest night
        Do jibber unto me dementedly.
        They wear their leather breeches black and tight,
        They ask satanic pixies round for tea.
        Oh save me from their fearsome canine teeth,
        Which gnash and chomp, haunting my darkest   dreams!
        They wear pink robes, with nothing underneath!
        How terribly beastly such raiment seems!
        For shame! Let them to monasteries go,
        Or let them get them to a nunnery!
        For when I take my belt off, fee fie fo,
        Most anything shall happen, they shall see!
        I am the worst nightmare of bad pixies;
        The "Terrible Swift Sword" for such as these.

NOTES from the author:

Much pain and suffering went into the composition of this sonnet.  Great heavings of dismay and undulations of fear were experienced  before pen caressed paper, which, though terrifying, did help to fuel the passionate fires of inspiration. For poetry is truly an untamed fire, which starts in the girded loins, ignites the underwear and causes the top of the head to spin, until finally, a new sonnet is born, like a bat popping out of a belfry.


So how does one begin to commune with the muse, sufficiently to produce a sonnet of true New Tuberism? It is not exactly like being able to plug in a toaster or radio. It is more like trying to catch a wisp of ectoplasm, or trying to induce an extremely large, bored bull elephant to dance a threesome reel. It takes time, concentration and  most importantly - inspiration, which has to be coaxed, rather than forced.

There are many methods of calling forth inspiration, and believe me, since losing my magic pen down the back of the sofa, I have tried them all. Popular belief has extolled the virtues of sitting with one's feet in a bucket of gravel, while some favour covering their lower body with mud and sea kelp, which, while good for cellulite, may not actually help to coax a good New Tuberist sonnet into being.

Some New Tuberist sonnetteers have also been known to try shouting through cardboard tubes, which rarely works these days, as the violent shouting can close off the energy inroads to the body's essential chakras, and occasionally, rupture the throat.

My mother always swears by daubing herself with a generous covering of Wintergreen, but she is a cross-channel swimmer and rarely writes poetry. When she does, her works are occasionally of some merit.  She is also a drinker of some impressive voraciousness, so what she says, while "in her cups", is generally best ignored.

No indeed, as I hinted earlier under ~NOTES from the author~, the key is to suffer for one's art. Put on a hair shirt, lash yourself with a bicycle chain or hard loofah, wail, sob, bellow... and lo and behold, the first glimmering of the first merest spark of an idea will form. No really.  This really works, but obviously close the curtains first, especially if the windows of any houses opposite are facing yours.


As you may have been wondering - yes, levitation does go a long way to helping with inspiration. Put away anything breakable, say a quiet mantra with your hind legs folded beneath you - and drift away, gently.

This has rarely been known to fail, especially when meditating on poetic growth. Sex while levitating is also popular, but that is a whole other article, which may be explored at some other time.


A New Tuberist sonnet must be gently unfolded, like the veiny leaves of a cabbage slowly unfurling. Let your tuber story emerge in this manner, so that it effectively "sneaks up from behind" on the trusting reader, then BAM!!  The final couplet arrives, with either a shattering, momentous statement, or a resounding echo of the first phrase, thus punctuating the sonnet with maximum impact, like the slap of a large trout round the ear.


Have a sense of occasion. You would not bathe in your best clothes, or walk along Rodeo Drive in your old carpet slippers. To be truly camp in the New Tuberist style, you need to be dressed in shiny black leather, or, at the very least, dark PVC or latex. A touch of lace here and there, with fishnet and the occasional shiny D ring, also helps.


By all means, suffer for your art, but enjoy it. Many have said - "No pain, no gain" and it's true. Remember this as you sit in your drafty garret, sipping Absinthe, levitating as your painful leather stays shimmer in the dim candlelight.

There is much art created through pain. And pain can be fun!

© Sonnet style: The New Tuberism - A Potato's Thoughts

© Potato Tarquin Grendlebaum Orbisfleur Terror III, December, 2002

If you DARE go there, the Potato of Terror's Garden of Horrors Home is:

SONNETTO POESIA, Vol. 2, no. 1, Winter, 2002/2003