In The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within and elsewhere, British actor, director, and writer Stephen Fry has argued for the enduring power of conventional poetic forms and has claimed that free-verse has led to laziness. It's hard to argue against either point, although I might just add that conventional forms can lead to laziness, too, perhaps of a different kind; for instance, there's something "automatic" about Wordsworth's later sonnets. Anyway, I thought I should write a sonnet with Stephen Fry's name all over it, and perhaps in so doing I'll even support my claim that conventional forms may elicit laziness, too, although I think frivolity is the more prominent quality.
Stephen Fry Sonnet
I've heard it said that Mr. Stephen Fry
Would like more formal poems to be made.
I'm happy to oblige; moreover, I,
As you are witness to, have not delayed,
Have lept into this sonnet form with zest,
Alluding-to, as sonnets do, the glib,
Bright, talented tall man, the best
Portrayer of both Jeeves and Wilde. A squib?
Well, I suppose you could call this poem that.
But there's no rule that says one can't write fast
And pounce upon a formal poem: iambic cat.
Well, as you know, the couplet's what comes last.
Let cups be raised, then, to one Stephen Fry,
Who likes his poems in form and has said why.
I note that I cheated, in a way, by asking the reader to pronounce "poems" in two syllables in line 2 but only in one syllable ("pomes") in line 14. Sonneteers are such cheaters. And makers of terrible puns: note "Let cups" in line 13--couplets/Let cups--oh, the horror, made worse by my being pleased.