Plug in the Scheme

Once you have your end words, take six pieces of paper (or make six pages in a file on your computer disk) — one for each stanza. Insert your end words on each page according to the prescribed scheme for that stanza. Using a page for each stanza helps you concentrate, as if it was a separate poem. This way, you'll emphasize every stanza as a complete unit of thought and avoid the tendency to lose interest in the sestina when it progresses and becomes more difficult to compose.

Here's how my six pages looked:

1. Lourdes, walks, resort, tales, heals, appears (Pattern: ABCDEF)

2. appears, Lourdes, heals, walks, tales, resort (Pattern: FAEBDC)

3. resort, appears, tales, Lourdes, walks, heals (Pattern: CFDABE)

4. heals, resort, walks, appears, Lourdes, tales (Pattern: ECBFAD)

5. tales, heals, Lourdes, resort, appears, walks (Pattern: DEACFB)

6. walks, tales, appears, heals, resort, Lourdes (Pattern: BDFECA)

Reading my end words, I had an inkling how each stanza would progress. This became my outline. For instance, the end words suggested that my first stanza would begin with the city and end with an appearance of the Virgin Mary. The second stanza would echo that appearance and end up, somehow, back at the resort. By the third stanza, I realized I would want to vary some of these end words using my chart of homonymic variations. This would reduce the artificial effects of repetition and enhance the subject matter of mystic appearances as the various end words melded into homonymns and homophones. In essence, I wanted each stanza to flow logically into the next, and concentrating on each stanza helped me achieve that.

0 0

Post a comment