Earlier this week I attended a poetry reading at Boswell Books in Milwaukee featuring Marilyn Taylor, Wisconsin's poet laureate and author of The Writer's Poet to Poet column. She was joined by B.J. Best, who is the author of four chapbooks and an instructor at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis. (The Writer's offices are located in Waukesha, too, by the way.)
Both poets often write in forms, even though more poets today tend to write in free verse. To show that forms aren't just for fuddy-duddies, the two opted to celebrate the sonnet with a reading they called The Sonnet: Not Just for Dead People Anymore. And judging from the crowd's reaction, the celebration was a success. With Marilyn reading sonnets from her new chapbook, Going Wrong, and B.J. from his forthcoming chapbook, State Sonnets, they had the crowd laughing several times. They took turns reading poems on various themes such as love, death, revenge and sex, and they included sonnets by other poets, like John Donne, e.e. cummings, Edna St. Vincent Millay, R.S. Gwynn and others.
You can listen to an interview with Marilyn and B.J. on the modern sonnet, which originally aired on Milwaukee's NPR station, WUWM. And look for Marilyn's column on writing prompts for poetry in the October issue of The Writer, which is available now.
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