Saturday, August 30, 2008

Novel: A Sonnet

When I was at Powell's Book Store in Portland recently, I saw a volume of "three-sentence novels" by a European writer. I should have purchased the book, but I'll track it down eventually.

The book reminded me of some "one-page novels" that a former professor of mine, the late Elliot Gilbert, used to write. Elliot was a marvelous professor of Victorian literature, wrote smartly on Kipling (of all people), and also knew a lot about such topics as detective fiction. He was married to the noted poet and feminist critic, Sandra Gilbert.

In any event, I decided to write a "novel" in fourteen lines--a novel stuffed into a sonnet.

Novel: A Sonnet

There was a place where people lived a long,
Long time. They soaked the place with their despair
And overloaded it with lore and song.
And then one day a stranger traveled there.
His presence was an irritant and salve,
Of course--that dual role which strangers play.
He saw someone and something he must have.
His getting them, however, would betray
A secret waiting for him all along.
A certain pressure grew under the weight
of character and fate combined. A wrong
Occurred and love turned into hate.
In more detail, the story stretches out
Three hundred fifty pages, or thereabouts.

Hans Ostrom

Copyright 2008 Hans Ostrom
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