Sestina: Rape and Shell Collecting

My first sestina was just published by Tipton Poetry Journal, Winter 2018.  According to Poetry Foundation, “a sestina is a complex French verse form, usually unrhymed, consisting of six stanzas of six lines each and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in a different order as end words in each of the subsequent five stanzas; the closing envoy contains all six words, two per line, placed in the middle and at the end of the three lines.”

Whew! It’s enough to make your head spin. But a recent poem I had written in free verse that didn’t sound quite right to me. It just lay there on the page. So, despite my trepidation, I decided to see if I could rewrite it as a sestina. I even used a famous sestina poem (“A Miracle for Breakfast”) by one of my favorite poets, Elizabeth Bishop as a model.

The result is my poem “Rape and Shell Collecting.” You can read the poem here (turn to page 40).


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