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30 November 2010 @ 01:30 pm
Sestina by Ciara Shuttleworth  
The sestina has long been one of my favorite forms of poetry, in part because of how constrained it is, and inside of that constraint, a really good sestina can perform some magical poetic alchemy. Even inside loving sestinas as I do, I am (and plenty of other people are) utterly gobsmacked by this one, which ran in last week's New Yorker:

Sestina by Ciara Shuttleworth

You
used
to
love
me
well.

Well,
you—
me—
used
love
to …

to …
well …
love.
You
used
me.

Me,
too,
used …
well …
you.
Love,

love
me.
You,
too
well
used,

used
love
well.
Me,
Too.
You!

You used
to love
me well.
 
 
I'm feeling: chipperchipper
 
 
 
blkblk on November 30th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
Wow.
unintentional baitredheadedmuse on November 30th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
this is fantastic! thanks for sharing it.
sol3sol3 on November 30th, 2010 07:09 pm (UTC)
I love this - I've lost count of how many times i've re-read it since you posted it. (Ssshhh, don't tell my boss!)
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on November 30th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
That's magnificent.
David Policardpolicar on December 1st, 2010 02:19 am (UTC)
Brilliant.
you shall above all things be glad and youngplantinglilacs on December 1st, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
have been looking for this since I read it in the New Yorker.
you missed the first stanza though:

You
used
to
love
me
well
ruthless compassionaroraborealis on December 1st, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
Oh, whoops! I wonder how that happened? Thank you! Fixed!
Ellen: write me pornkeyne on December 1st, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
I ordinarily don't care for sestinas, but this one is brilliant.
(Anonymous) on December 14th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Sestina
As a student, many years ago, studying poetry at the Iowa Writers Workshop, I also wrote a sestina, the topic and tone of which were similar to yours. I never followed through on my desire to write poetry, probably because I was not then, nor would I ever be in the future, as food as you; your work is far superior and quite lovely! I would like to have an Email or phone conversation with you, if you are so inclined.

John Schneider
818.813.5008
sukviv4@gmail.com
ruthless compassion: martini handsaroraborealis on December 14th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Sestina
I'm sure that the author of the poem would be happy to hear your kind words! I'm not she, however. I saw this poem in the New Yorker in November.