Celebrate Spring in a Year like 2003?
One is surely given to wonder whether indeed
there is much to celebrate, even with the advent of Spring, in a year such as 2003, when War and rumours of War love
to run amok. Such is the tenor of our times that it is difficult at best and next to impossible at worst for the
poet or the sonneteer to turn his or attention to the finer, subtler nuances of our Springtime, when life resuscitates herself
from the grip of Winter, or as we poets are wont to phrase this, when Orpheus leads Eurydice back from Hades to the upper
regions of Earth. But this year, Hades seems to be returning with her!
Of course, Spring will return, even in this blackest
of years, 2003, for Mother Earth will not be flaunted, nor can God be mocked. Yet, in spite of all our efforts to turn our
minds and our hearts to cheer, that nasty Iraqi War spits in our faces.
Small wonder, then, that so many of the
sonnets in the current issue of SONNETTO POESIA should so dramatically reflect
the tragic backdrop of this Spring's stage, so lavishly decorated with budding leaves and bursting with
flowers, yet a stage where idiots strut vaingloriously.
Of the four sonneteers featured in the
current issue, Robin Ouzman, who is our primary contributor, stands out head and shoulders as the most pessimistic and apparently
the poet most in touch with the malaise that universally infects the world today. Let me make myself clear about one thing: I make no apologies whatsoever for Robin's sonnets, which clearly
stand on their own merit, however Edgar Allan Poe-like they may be. Some readers may find them tough pills to
swallow. Well, all I can say about that is: if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!
The general gist of Robin Ouzman's sonnet wizardry
is best summed up, I think, by this pithy little adage:
"If you can't annoy somebody with what you write,
I think there is little point in writing."
Kingsley Amis (1922-1995), in Radio Times,
May 1st., 1971
One of Sara Russell's sonnets also delves directly
into this inescapable dilemma, by turning what might be otherwise an uplifting Spring sonnet on its head, and flinging the
reader willy-nilly into a well of despair, which she forces that reader to share with her, like it or lump it.
Ah, the Terror of it All!
Yet, for all this, there is bound to be comic
relief. And our court jester is, of course, none other than my all-time favourite Queen of the Potato Munchkins, the Potato
of Terror, whose sonnets will also set you on end, but, I fear, with laughter.
The Editor's Two Bits
The editor has also contributed one sonnet which
falls roundly into the traditional sonnet repertoire, but with an unusual twist. I suppose I should reveal a little secret
about this sonnet. Unfortunately for us Canadians, Winter has a nasty tendency to rear its ugly head, with one last nasty
gasp, by launching into one final dilly of a snowstorm in April (would you believe it? and I mean
every April!)... and of course, it happened again, this past weekend. It just so happens that I stayed up very
late the night of the storm, and got so teed off with it that I decided to write a sonnet to myself, in which I play the role
of two personas, one a self-pitying individual and the other, an assertive, outgoing person (apparently the first soul's bored
lover), who has quite had it both with his lover's whining over Winter and with Winter itself, and quite prefers to go
prancing out into the cold rain, rather than listen to his significant others mewling, or be reminded that Winter, all haggard
and worn thin as it may be, is still hanging obstinately about. Sound familiar? If you're Canadian, it sure as hell ought
to, unless you're so lucky to hail from Vancouver or Victoria, B.C., where the palm trees grow. I suppose envy will get me