A sestina that uses “Mina Loy” as one of its end-words will certainly intrigue me. So when Stephen Burt discusses its first stanza in the essay I mentioned in my last entry, I just have to go on Google to find the rest of Joanna Fuhrman’s “Stable-Self Blues.” That led me to The Germ, which also contains the following
- “Means of Entry” by Joanna Fuhrman
- “Stairway to Heaven (1946)” by Brandon Downing
- “The Spy Game” by James Tate
- “The Intrigues” by Ange Mlinko
- “Mock On, Mock On, Jakobson, Lacan” by Chris Stroffolino
This is just a sample of works. There are many more online, and each of the above poets has more than one piece.
(“Gimme gimme this, gimme gimme thaaaaaaaat…”)
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.”