Sonnets by Theresa Rodriguez

sonnets
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By Lynette G. Esposito
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In Sonnets, published by Shanti Arts Publishing in Brunswick, Maine, Theresa Rodriguez executes the Shakespearean form and other sonnet forms in a delightful variant of topics.
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The seventy-five pages of sonnets explore universal themes from love and loss to desire and faith. On page seventeen, Rodriguez presents a Spenserian Sonnet in which she acknowledges she is new to the form.
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          Another form of poetry for me:
          The Poetic forms concrete, sublime, refined;
          Another type of sonnet flowing free:
          The product of a careful, studied mind.
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As with other endeavors in this poetic volume, she addresses what it is to write as well as the intellectual discipline to write in a particular form.
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         In joyous new discovery do I find
        The puzzle-solving mental different way;
        Creative energy will flow in kind
        In all that I can do, and write, and say.
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The next quatrain addresses the complexity of staying in form almost as if there is a fight between the writer and the words as she works to fit the words into their rightful places.
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        If every word would thus obey
       The many thoughts that full within me spring,
       Then I could make a miracle today,
       And I would birth a brand-new thing.
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Rodriguez skillfully keeps control of the form and pulls it together with the final couplet.
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         Oh, could I create a worthiness in this:
         That not a word would here appear amiss.
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To write in a particular form, a writer must always be aware of the rules.  To marry content into the verse that has particular rules, requires the writer to have both discipline and focus.  Rodriguez displays both all through the book.
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In her Petrarchan Sonnet on page eighteen, Rodriguez, in two stanzas and the standard fourteen lines, honors Petrarch and humbles herself to achieve the form. On page twenty-nine, Rodriguez speaks of unrequited love in her poem You’ve Made it Clear.  She says in the poem:  I know that love is never made by force and ends the poem with
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          For though I’ve longed for you in every way,
          I also love enough to stay away.
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The poem succeeds in a traditional theme of desire and loss.
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On page sixty-seven, Rodriguez addresses how the young lose faith in The Prayers of Youth.
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          The prayers of youth begin with fervent heat,
          And all the passions of a lover’s love,
          And all the ardor of an earnest sweet,
         Excited faith, transcendent from above.
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She follows the theme through the aging process as youthful faith cools and the ardor diminishes.  The sonnet is successful in presenting the changes as youth matures and perceptions adjust to a different way of thinking. The couplet closes the poem with a plea.
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        Oh, keep me on the warm and lighted way
       That you might fan me when I go astray.
It is interesting that the ending couplet gives direct address to a higher power with a passionate prayer.
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If you are a lover of the sonnet form, there is plenty in this tome to enjoy.  I found Rodriguez dealt a little too much on her involvement in discovering various forms of sonnets and her self- awareness of her reaction to the various sonnet forms.  Overall, reading and re-reading. the book was an enjoyable exercise in sonnet exploration.
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You can find the book here: Sonnets
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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.
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