Making the Shortlist

Yesterday I got word that one of my sonnets has been shortlisted for the Better Than Starbucks Sonnet Contest 2021. I don’t enter many contests, and have only once received an honorable mention – back in 2000 – for another sonnet contest (I write a lot of sonnets). That contest was judged by Alfred Dorn, who created the ‘Dornian’ sonnet with the rhyme scheme ABCABC DD EFGEFG. I’ve written a number of Dornian sonnets, including my seven-sonnet sequence “Homage to the Italian Language” which will be in Still Life with City. The poem was published in Raintown Review last year, which is a print-only journal. As a teaser, here is one of the middle sonnets, in the Dornian style:


Romans adore the expletive ammazza.
It means so many things, like Oh my god
or harsh…Regina taught us to use it
in place of harsher-sounding words or as a
default four-letter word which, intoned loud,
would startle skeletons locked in the closet.
But what was I to do with Abigail—
bipolar, alcoholic—but derail
my train to smoother tracks? I found a place
across the bridge in Queens: Astoria.
The signs in Greek were comforting to me,
murmurs of Mediterranean solace
along the East River; la storia,
I told myself, fingering my new key.

Anyway, the shortlisted sonnet is not a Dornian sonnet! It's actually a (mostly) unrhymed sonnet, another pet form. In January they release the results. Fingers crossed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s