So yes, the Jackpine Sonnet. “The fiddle’s incomplete without the dance,” Acorn writes, “Let’s hook fingers to complete.” Without some kind of constraint, verse Acorn suggests lacks luster, and in general, I would agree. There is little sign of a struggle, perhaps. Form or constraint puts pressure on the idea behind the poem, on the original gesture. The sonnet form, Acorn argues, is “realisant.” It’s an organic, not fixed form. “It grows to any shape that suits the light, suits the winds, suits itself.” The Jackpine is a tree that grows in all sorts of conditions. It is resilient and as Acorn appreciates, each tree grows and looks very differently.
Of course each is a member of the same order of tree too, which might be problematic. In 2010 we might see a hybrid Jackpine, part cedar or with strands of tomato for fun. I am being facetious, but not only. I want to think Acorn’s enthusiasm for the form would include all of the above and interpretations we have not yet imagined.
But perhaps that is not so? I’ll end with a provocative little poem from Acorn, poet of the people, but also, it turns out, a poet quite savvy about the poetry biz.
The Craft of Poetry’s the Art of War
Attack! Don’t think yehr poetry aint war.
Them warbling noises be no kind of birds.
They zing—they fly—they smack. They’re bullets
And any minute one of them or something
Even rougher on your balls might score.
Put on your hardhat of proletarian scorn;
And when you throw roses—never mind how sweet;
For sweet life’s sake don’t omit the thorns.
Attack! Those clutching fingers of dawn
Will bundle themselves, soon enough into fists;
Punch you into gargage, put a lid on the can.
You’ll get dropped from this or that love-list
By reason of hate—by reason of fear…or another
But if you think this aint war you’re dead brother.
To Sonnet, to Son-net, Tuscon Net