Turnabout is Fair Play
There is a poetic device that many people arent familiar with. It has several names:
Lets just call it the pivot.
Many experts consider the pivot a requirement for a sonnet. It is a change in direction of the thought at some point in the poem. There are many different types of sonnets, and the pivot may come at various points. For Italian and most other sonnets, the pivot occurs between the octave and the sestet. For English sonnets, it can occur anywhere after the end of the eighth line up to the beginning of the thirteenth.
There are also many forms called sonnets that some experts say arent sonnets for one reason or another. Theres the curtal sonnet, which is only ten-and-a-half lines, although it is divided in two parts like the sonnet, and can have the pivot. The Heroic sonnet is eighteen lines and is divided into either three or five parts. A pivot is generally not seen as a requirement for the heroic sonnet, but that doesnt mean you cant have one. The terza rima (diaspora) sonnet, blues sonnet, and a few others are primarily considered sonnets because they have fourteen lines. They do not generally require a pivot.
But enough about sonnets, the interesting thing is the pivot. There are other forms that require some sort of turn or surprise at the end: Little Willies, left-handed poems, and surely some others. Its an interesting way to plan a poem.
For a poem with a pivot, the trick is to decide where you want to end the poem first. Then figure out what would be an opposite, or nearly opposite starting point. For instance, say that you want to tell a lover how beautiful her eyes are. You might start from some opposite track, claiming that you wont be captured by some other glorious feature:
I shall not be captured by your sweet kiss,
The use of the pivot doesnt have to be limited to a particular form or set of forms. It can even be used in prose poems, or free verse. So, even if youre unlikely to ever write a sonnet, you can still use the pivot. So, get out there and swing that thing.
The Gnostic Poet
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