'Sonnelles’ is a series of 48 poems based loosely on the classic English sonnet. Mr Sterling has admired those of past poets, especially Shakespeare and, based upon such inspiration, has composed poems with their spirit in mind. You might call them modern adaptations, because they do not adhere to the strict iambic and rhyme schemes of the past, hence the title “Sonnelles.” This is refreshing and new. The spirit is alive, as is love. They speak of the joys and pain of love and relationship. Forty eight comments on one of life’s deep emotional journeys.
"The love for which one will rise and fall"
SONNET / SONNELLE
The sonnet and its peculiar structure has been around for a long time. Ostensibly the invention of an employee of the Holy Roman Emperor in the 13th Century, its rhyme scheme has been modified somewhat over time, forming various schools of sonnets, each adhering to its basic fourteen line structure. The so-called English version developed in the early 16th century and was adopted by William Shakespeare, among many others.
The sonnet’s meter (rhythm) is called iambic pentameter. A fancy way of saying that, for each line, there are five two-syllable 'iambs,' each accented on the second (e.g."forgive"), for a total of ten syllables per line. There are three sets (stanzas) of four lines each ending with a final two-line stanza.
A diagram of the rhyme scheme helps visualize this structure, based on the rhyme of the last word in each line: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.
A Sonnelle takes several liberties with this structure while hopefully maintaining some semblance to the original intention and feel. You might compare this to Blues music, which has always had a basic structure to it, but with which much liberty has been taken over time.
Mr. Sterling has lived in Southern California since birth, with significant stints away in New York City, as well as several travels abroad. He has distilled his experiences, or rather, impressions of his life experiences, in verse since early in life. Most of his works were destroyed in a fire in the 80’s (“probably a good thing,” he said) and he has worked consistently since then, either resurrecting old memories or committing new ones to written word.
I found this work to be intriguing, thought-provoking, and beautifully written by an extremely intelligent and very excellent poet. It’s a book to keep on your bed stand at night for wonderful reading or to take anywhere especially when you have an hour or two by yourself to read and reflect on his words. It is magical and wonderful and something for the classrooms.