I first heard about this poetic form after I read Neil Gaiman’s “Vampire Sestina” ages ago (and I’m pleasantly surprised to know that his is not the only example from SF/F/H). I’ve never actually tried it myself, but I’m not alone in being attracted to it in some way. It can quite delightful:
- John Ashbery’s “Farm Implements and Rutabaga in a Landscape” made me laugh out loud with its title and kept doing so after I found out it was about a certain spinach-eatin’ sailor.
- Sandra Beasley’s “Let Me Count the Waves” also cracked me up big-time, from the first verse on.
- Lloyd Schwartz’s “Six Words” is the sestina at its most minimalist.
- Jonah Winter’s “Sestina: Bob” is also a highly limited example of the form that works.
- The entire set at Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, which pretty much demonstrates the quiddity of the McSweeney’s “spirit.”