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Singapore: Coronasonnet /


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Singapore is a relatively new sovereign island in maritime Southeast Asia off the southern tip of Malaysia. The country's territory, a city-state, is composed of one main island and 63 satellite islands and islets , and one outlying islet. There are four official languages English, Malay, and Tamil.   A modern city with an active literary community. Its literary history is recorded by its languages and identified with cultures of Malaysia, India and China. When one refers to the poetry of Singapore, it pretty much begins in the last century.


The Coronasonnet  inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic is an invented form created by the poets of SingPoWriMo (Singapore Poetry Writing Month) It is a loose adaptation of the Italian Sonnet form, since Italy at the time had the most Covid deaths.  

"The recipe for this viral concoction follows:"

  1.  Written in 14 lines.
  2. The coronasonnet has been infected by 2 lines from another poem(s) and includes them verbatim as part of its 14 lines.
  3. The coronasonnet is asymptomatic for the first 8 lines, but from line 9 onwards, every word is written in all caps.
  4. The coronasonnet ends with social distancing, with more and more space in each line. Lines 12-14 include only one-syllable words.

    Return of Spring

    My garden calls me in this hour,
    " ’tis my faith that every flower
    enjoys the air it breathes"*
    and its bounty, to us bequeaths.

    I flee from isolation to dance
    among the bright faced daisies,
    the royal iris bloom, not by chance,
    reminding me, I'm anything but crazy.


                                  ~~Judi Van Gorder
    * Lines written in early spring  L13-14  by William Wordsworth April 1798

Twin Cinema was first introduced by Yeow Kai Chai in the Jul 2010 issue of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, entitled "Begone dull care". It was subtitled "twin cinema comprising bolts and nuts of unrelated scenes, some pilfered." Inspired by John Ashbery's "Litany", a 65-page poem written in two columns, published in the 1979 collection "As You Know" and named after a 2005 album by the Canadian indie rock band The New Pornographers.  In its original structure, it was two poems side by side with each line of one poem having a corresponding line in the next poem. David Wong further explored this form and added further definition to the form, defining it as a three in one, "being able to be read across or as two discrete columns."

The elements of the Twin Cinema are:

  1. written in two columns, each column should be a separate poem and a third poem is created when the line is read straight across.  There are three poems in one which is read horizontally and vertically, similar to the Cleave or Titan.
  2. each individual line of a column should correlate or contrast to the opposing line of the other column.
  3. often reads as dialogue between conflicting or agreeing voices. 
  4. written with variables such as:
  • Jukebox twin cinema or twin centonema using song lyrics for content. -
  • Meta-twin cinema a trend lines from their own or other poet's poems.
  • Triple and quad cinema creating three and four columns respectively. The lines should still be coherently readable even across the greater number of columns.

The Vlle is a stanzaic form that after extensive research I was only able to find in one internet blog.  According to the blog, the Vlle was originally created by British ecclesiastics of the 16th century, as a reaction to Henry VIII's creation of the Anglican church. So far I've been unable to find an example.  It apparently was never very popular and fizzled out early in English speaking countries. Through colonization in the 19th century, the form supposedly found its way to India but was rejected by modern-day Indian poets. However, it has retained its popularity in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore.

The elements of the Vlle are:

  1. begin with an epigraph or quote from any English literature written no later than the 19th century.
  2. stanzaic, written in any number of tercets
  3. L1 of each tercet is 3 words and begins the poetic thought
  4. L2 & L3 is a rhymed couplet using lines of 7 words each and ending only on masculine rhyme.
  5. the last tercet is followed by an affirmative statement beginning with the article "A". 

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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