Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Sonnets

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins chose to use a common, yet somewhat complicated scheme for writing his poems. These sonnets use the sestet to comment on the octave in a unique way. One excellent example of this is found in “The Starlight Night”.(p 1516) In the octave, Hopkins uses words to paint a beautiful setting in the reader’s mind. “Look at the stars!…/ O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!” he writes, describing a magically starry night.(ln 1-2) Then, he follows it with a silvery moonlit lawn and “Flake-doves sent floating forth at a farmyard scare!”(ln 7) This eight-line beginning sets the mood and scene with a mysterious, star filled night with emphasis on the stars and their bountiful beauty.

Then, in the sestet, Hopkins changes the view with his commentary. “Buy then! Bid then!—What?—Prayer, patience, alms, vows,” he writes.(ln 9) This indication that prayers to God bid on the stars, earning them through praise to their creator. He goes on to comment on the plethora of stars and how they are a harvest in the sky. However, he ends with “They are indeed the barn; withindoors houses.”(ln 12) This changes the view of the stars to represent the fence, house, and home of Christ, indicating that the stars are not ours, but the visual edges of heaven.

This use of sonnets for Hopkins writing lulls the reader in with a beautiful picture, then surprises them with an idea that might not have been assumed in the first lines. Through this method, the poet makes a political, religious, or other commentary within a beautiful work of poetry.

Works Cited

Greenblatt, S., & M. H. Abrams, e. a. (Eds.). (2006). The Norton Anthology of English Literature (Eighth ed., Vol. D). New York, NY, USA: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.


Belly Dancing & Poetry

A dear friend and wonderful poet has a new book that I’m excited to tell you all about.  Here’s a little about it:

Jane Kohut-Bartels, writer and bellydancer, has woven a magic carpet of poetry, short story and other delightful forms of literary erotica. Japanese forms of poetry, tanka and haiku, free verse, sonnets and other works create a mosaic that will keep you up at nights reading through this book. If not, your dreams will be invaded by particular visions of erotica. As a Turkish/Egyptian trained belly dancer, Jane Kohut-Bartels brings her exotic experiences in dance to her transcendent stories, weaving a particular magic that only well crafted stories can do. She rounds the world with her writings from ancient Japan, to Venice and France in the 18th century and back to the present, entertaining readers with her fertile imagination. How appropriate this book is released to the public February 14th, 2009. It is a Valentine’s Day gift that will stir the senses and gladden the heart.

Get A Seasoning of Lust Here in paperback or ebook.

Guest Blogger – Joely Sue Burkhart

Please welcome Joely Sue Burkhart, Drollerie Press author and poet extraordinaire!

When I got serious about writing a little over five years ago, I started following authors through their blogs.  As a reader, I found some wonderfully new–to me–authors this way:  Lynn Viehl, Holly Lisle, and Jane Yolen in Fire Withinparticular.  Now we own just about every “How Do Dinosaurs…” book, and I adore Viehl’s StarDoc and Darkyn series, which I never would have found with her Paperback Writer blog.

One entry in Ms. Yolen’s journal said she was “off to dream in rhyme.”  That phrase stuck with me.  I’ve always love poetry, ever since Mrs. Lightle’s English class in high school introduced me to Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.  I don’t think I’m a poet–far from it.  But I love to mimic the great ones.  I love the challenge of matching meter perfectly, changing just a few key words and totally twisting the meaning of the poem to something new.  Over the

years, I’ve written many parodies, from everything to “Twas the Night Before Story” to “Story Genesis,” a different kind of creation story. 


And so in honor of “Dreaming in Rhyme,” my blog, I wrote a new parody for this blog tour.  I think you’ll recognize it, as well as learn a few things about me and what kind of stories I like to write.


I write in darkness, like the night,

Of midnight hours and pre-dawn morn,

As long as monsters cease their fights,

Three daughters rowdy I have borne;

Thus transformed to sweet cherubs bright,

Which sleep at last ere Mom’s patience worn.


One word the more, one err the less,

Had filled the page of Story’s face,

Which calls my heart, more love to bless,

Or softly cries, salt tears a trace;

For lost love angst I must confess,

How bitter, how sweet, their first embrace!


And on that page and thru that book,

So faith, so trust, yet greatest doubt;

Brave hero who wins, his heart she took,

But gave of hers, such courage to shout,

No shadowed evil their hearts shook.

So by the end, love wins throughout.


Joely Burkhart

Read a free story from Joely at Drollerie Press. Just click here!