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The Roseate Sonnet: An Experience in Learning the Art of Poetry (with a CONTEST & PRIZES!)

September 3, 2015 | By

A unique, experimental poetic form, the Roseate Sonnet, invented by Dr. A.V. Koshy and inspired by the symbol of the rose, that also inspired other poets to try it.

The Roseate Sonnet as a form was created by Dr. A.V. Koshy in December 2012.  He also wrote the first one. It is a South Indian variation on the Italian or English versions of the same.


“The Rose was chosen as an inspiration because of its enduring nature as a symbol in literature worldwide.”

“The rules are as follows: the sonnet must have two quatrains first, followed by a couplet and then by a last quatrain that starts the first line with an R, the second with an O, the third with an S and the fourth with an E to form an acrostic that reads ‘ROSE.’ The form has no other constraints like rhyme or metre or blank verse having to be used, unlike its earlier forms or variants. There is no fixed syllabic count for the lines. It was inspired by a profile picture of a rose on a poet-friend Gopali C Ghosh’s Facebook, again revealing its post-modern media-driven antecedents, and parallels such new experiments in form as the ones by Mutiu Olawuyi (9/11 poetry) and Bina Biswas (five liners). It also is a brief nod in the direction of Sonnet Mondal‘s experimental caudate sonnet, in its choice of name.

The Rose was chosen as an inspiration because of its enduring nature as a symbol in literature worldwide. Its presence in the sonnet can be seen as a random conjunction in keeping with post modernism that both gives it order and brings in an element of chaos,  whether  love, beauty, religiosity, spirituality, divinity, mysticism, sexuality or sensuality is the  subject matter of the sonnet itself.”

Dr. Koshy

The first Roseate sonnet was written by Dr. A.V. Koshy

While the first Roseate sonnet was written by Dr. A.V. Koshy, the second one was created by Sreepriya Balakrishnan. Both of them are from Kerala, in south India, thus strengthening the South Indian link. More have been written and are in the offing from other poets.

Sreepriya’s sonnet is given here as an example as the second one in history on this form. (The first one by Dr Koshy is under review for publication. Koshy’s example has appeared in Facebook and Google plus, but not in an official form yet.)

“Deep may be the causes of revolt
but a rebel is always on the peripheral.
Blessed is he who cares not for what he rebels.
Time holds him up ever in the peripheral.

Look at that boy, up early in the morn
wanting to face god in the snowy dawn
trekking up the hill in earnest revenge
to the nearest temple to offer the rage.

As he neared the seat of a god, the enemy looked so sparse and stubby.
Finding yet another rage was easier than holding up all the restraints.

Racking over little rebellions
Ordering the chaos for the center
Soothing himself into the contours
End is where the rebel has to stay.”

Rhyme used in roseate sonnets is incidental, not a pre-requisite.

The following Roseate Sonnet is by Dr. Ampat Koshy that is an acrostic throughout and rhymes. He tampers in the number of lines in the stanzas of his own form to get what he wants which shows the sonnet is more about overall effect than exact obeying of its norms though the line count and the acrostic remain of paramount importance.

You used to glow with an inner fire
Ornate profile, a painting or statue
Umber skin that drove mad with desire

Far from the crowd, for hours you would woo –
Endearingly curious, fearing & hating
Love and its lure, lust and its tunes
Lest, if done, it proved to your undoing…

After the nights became bereft of runes
Nasturtium, you blossomed and bloomed
Donned your conquest, a new country ruled

Rare, such near-perfection, two souls almost meeting
On a voyage that had in opposite directions been heading
Slowly drowning now in a becalmed sea
Entreating each other: Can this, love, ever be?!

This unique and beautiful poetic form, loved by many poets now in the Rejected Stuff poetry and literature group in Facebook, has inspired  a considerable number of roseate sonnets, among which some are truly memorable. In fact, more than thirty roseate sonnets have already been written and posted in the group, which is quite noteworthy and gives us an idea how the creative seeds of poetry germinate and blossom into highly fructifying ones.

Among the poems, Sunila Kamal’s and Ananya Chatterjee’s were considered  outstanding ones whose sonnets won due to voting in a free and informal contest held in Rejected Stuff.

Read Sunila’s roseate sonnet here below by clicking on its title:

God’s Love is Rose

Read Ananya’s roseate sonnet:


As for myself, I have been inspired to create a narrative poem out of this beautiful poetic form. In the poem, I have tried to depict the story of a little girl whom I had seen through the window of a taxi I was traveling in, during a rainy night near the Esplanade area in Kolkata, India. The image haunted me for quite a while and then I gave shape to it.

The Murky Rain

The little girl slices through the deep blue blush, the rain tears the clouds asunder
Beneath the flickering street light, her thin frame bursts in a hungry deluge.
Moored in the murky edges of the city, where the night traffic diminishes,
In the rain waters she unbuckles, finds her refuge.
Strands of her hair misplaced, she had sold framed photos of goddesses
Her bony body swimming through the unending vortex of urban vehicles.
The traffic honked, washed ashore the practiced voices of denial,
A middle-aged woman stopped the car, called her inside in unknown syllables.
Inside the damp walls of the unknown ‘home’, voices, flesh and bones
Crisscross, sex-starved beings haunt and whistle, rippling through hungry moans.
Rummaging through her, ghost voices swim, fall with a dull thud.
Outside, near the filthy gutter, her little teeth gnash the stale breads.
Swirling in the night rain, voices of her washed out childhood, her lost village
Ebb and flow, the rose bud of her being torn up in shreds.

There are other truly memorable poets and writers in the group who experimented with the form delightfully, while at the same time coming up with some unique themes and subjects within the form/structure of the poems.

I would hereby humbly request those poet friends in RS group and anyone else who wants to to post their own roseate sonnets in response to this post (in the ‘comments’ section) and make it a rich, unique learning experience for all of us striving to excel in our endeavour of writing poetry.  I, Dr. Koshy and another fellow poet Elizabeth Kuriakose together are excited and looking forward to select the best  three sonnet entries in the comments section and gift the poets a copy of the magnum opus literary collection, ‘The Significant Anthology’ as first prize and two BALLADS of BAPU as second  and third prize.

Please do remember while you post your comments, that only roseate sonnets are allowed and please do add your name and email in the body of your comments along with the sonnets. We are also trying to come up with an anthology consisting of the best and selected entries. However, it is important to add here that the judges’ decision is final in the selection process and no further correspondence will be entertained on the matter and only poems they choose will go into making the book.

This would be the first time in our poetry section of ‘Learning and Creativity’ that we are trying to elicit such a response from fellow poets and writers within a single post in order to see how a single poetic form can spread its wings and soar in the sky. Let us all be the wind beneath its wings!

The ‘inventor’ of this new form, Dr Koshy A V, is an established author and writer who is a poet, critic, short story writer, editor and artist. He has a doctorate in Samuel Beckett’s Poems in English from the University of Kerala. He has published, co-authored or edited, compile and anthologized many books including  a book called A Treatise on Poetry for Beginners (Speak Up Publishing)/ Art of Poetry (Authorspress), and THE SIGNIFICANT ANTHOLOGY with Reena Prasad and  Michele Baron and has several published research papers and articles to his credit. He has also published poems in different parts of the world in poetry journals, magazines, e-zines and anthologies.

A poem of his that appeared in the e-zine The Camel Saloon called ‘A Shayari of Sorts’ was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Poetry in USA for 2012. He has collaborated and is collaborating thrice with Bina Biswas. Dr Koshy also runs with his wife Anna Gabriel an NGO for autism, has three children, and is presently teaching English language and literature as an assistant Professor in Jazan University, KSA. He has an autistic son and administers Rejected Stuff and has instituted an international prize for writing and literature in his name won by Dr Santosh Bakaya and Pramila Khadun so far.

More poems to read

Love Story
The Mountain Refrains
‘Parting’ and ‘Yearning’ – Two Poems

Lopamudra (Lopa) Banerjee is an author, editor, poet and writing instructor staying in Dallas, Texas with her family, but originally from Kolkata, India. She has a Masters in English with thesis in Creative Nonfiction from University of Nebraska and also Masters in English from University of Calcutta, India. Apart from writing and editing some critically acclaimed books and being awarded with the Reuel International Prize for Poetry (2017) and for Translation (2016), she has dabbled in all genres of writing, from journalism and content writing to academic essays and fiction/poetry. She has been interviewed in various e-zines, literary blogs and also at TV (Kolkata) and at radio stations in Dallas, Texas. Very recently, she has been part of the upcoming short film 'Kolkata Cocktail', a docu-feature based on poetry, but her love for writing feature stories go back to her journalism days when she interviewed people from all walks of life and wrote essays and articles based on them. She loves performing poetry as spoken words art and has performed in various forums in India and USA.
All Posts of Lopamudra Banerjee

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25 thoughts on “The Roseate Sonnet: An Experience in Learning the Art of Poetry (with a CONTEST & PRIZES!)

  • Ipsita Ganguli

    Lopa~ wonderful article.

    Here are two bits from

    ~ ~ ~ ~

    This city of zig zag lights
    Of dreams, of life
    Of wakeful nights
    This city of beautiful strife

    This city which makes you soar
    Make a you want to fly
    Gives you a heady high
    Where the mantra is to give it more

    This city of deep undercurrents
    Of dark depths in shady torrents

    Rise with this city
    Opportunity knocks on its shores
    Surrender to its flow
    Effervescent this city ever glows

    For Aryan and Eva

    Princess Eva rules my heart
    Her smile is bright, she talks a lot
    Little Eva dances wild
    A bundle of joy this precious child

    Aryan too has princely ways
    He’s strong and stately our little man
    He adores his cars ,is an airplane fan
    And no one does leggoes the way he can

    Aryan Eva ~ It is but true
    Thats its a sheer pleasure to be with you

    Relish the moments that I am there
    Openning to you my box of love
    Splendid kids my bundles of joy
    Everlastingly you will rule my heart

    For my Godchildren

    To have you both in my arms
    And be showered in your innocence
    To chatter with you
    About toys and turtles
    And revel in your art
    And draw and dance with you
    ~ Evenings such as these are a treat~

    Lots of love,
    ~ Ipsitaa.

  • Gauri Dixit

    Roseate Sonnet – 1

    Roasted Almond Ice-cream

    In the hustle bustle
    Of the tedious routine
    Focused on our lives
    Togetherness has lost its sheen

    Rushed morning kiss
    And tea date with the newspaper
    All that is left
    Of the passionate love affair

    Let fun be rife
    Let us relish the life

    Roasted almond Ice-cream
    Our flavor
    Served in a waffle cone
    Eternally let us savor

    Roseate Sonnet – 2

    The Fall

    Kings and queens reside
    In old palaces full of wealth
    Stealing from royalty and commoners alike
    With strategy full of stealth

    The kingdom is their playground
    They play by their own rules
    Humility and honesty mean nothing to them
    They use people as their own tools

    Murdering humanity and compounding grief
    Rebellion is born to shake the old beliefs

    Rickety foundations fall apart
    Ornate pillars collapse
    Spiders scurry for life
    Enigmatic silence prevails

    Roseate Sonnet – 3

    Last Night

    Early in the morning
    Busy with day to day chores
    Starting the tea
    While you softly snore

    I cut the vegetables
    Listening to the radio anchor jest
    While cleaning the top cupboard
    I sense your rough hands on my bare waist

    Your scorching touch is enough
    To take me back to the night before

    Remembering the sultry dark
    Overwhelming passion
    Sensual escapades and
    Earth shattering peak

  • Elvira Lobo

    Roseate sonnet 1

    – Mystery of my heart
    I woke up to see the evening bright
    The sun kissing the earth and moon standing behind
    I made some tea and sipped a little,
    Enjoying the aroma of blended ginger.
    The ginger reminded of him one more time
    His favourite,that gave him his rare smile.
    Those romantic evenings spent in our garden
    A bliss I looked forward to once he came from work.
    Can I borrow it again, oh dear life,
    The joy of his company vapoured like the tea.
    Rekindle the fire inside, my love
    Open the door of your heart for me
    Savour me in your ginger feeds
    Evergreen will I keep you in my heart streams.

    -Elvira Lobo

  • Joie Bose

    A Roseate Sonnet
    Love in the Time of War

    Eyes to eyes, their gaze did arrest,
    Bird-like glances found their nest;
    New love in ceramic cups was brewing,
    Pause now, what are you doing?

    Now is not your time to love,
    A passed decree’s come from above;
    Conscripted you are, you will follow the drill,
    You’re a heartless machine, trained to kill.

    A battle was waged between the heart and head,
    Who won, was left unsaid.

    Rising to the tunes of a heart song
    Only a lovers frequency can register
    Silently they marched out of their bodies
    Evenings were now lonely and sinister.


  • Elvira Lobo

    Roseate sonnet 2

    The cafe was abuzz with chatters and music
    filled aroma of coffee and intimate moments
    A piece of red velvet cake savoured a table
    and creamy cups of mocha enticed few.

    A fragrant breeze came near the counter,
    spelling out her treats one by one.
    He watched her as her hair pangs fell on her shoulder
    while managing to hold the tray of cupcakes together.

    He gulped to breathe as she stared at him while her teeth digged into the cake
    smearing her lips royally with cream.

    Rest your heart for another few minutes
    O babe, the cafe will close and I will meet you soon
    Stare not that way dear, I promise
    Evening this day we will make it more romantic under the moon.

    -Elvira Lobo

  • Elvira Lobo

    Roseate sonnet 3

    Leaves whispered to the woods
    as the night grew on the earth
    close to the lamppost
    across the street.

    The long deserted road
    charred with stones
    grinded itself
    under the wheels

    An owl sat in the corner on the rooftop
    pensive on an old barricated house.

    Remains a mystery as no visitor passes this way
    On this day, this vehicle had dared to so
    Stepping and opening the gates of that home, He walked inside
    Even as the night grew afraid of the gory tale that was in store.

  • Bhuvana Shankar

    Wonderful article Lopa! My attempt at a Roseate Sonnet:

    You fell gloriously from the skies,
    And the god was indeed mesmerized,
    He stood up to meet your might,
    And coiled you in his locks tight.

    From thence you flowed to nether regions,
    And liberated the slumbering legions,
    You ran and made many paths of your own,
    And you married again, a king well known.

    Your offspring you let drown in the water,
    Only later we learn that you’re a liberator.

    Reigning goddess with the raging waters,
    Oh, many have sought refuge in your altars,
    Sacred river, to me you embody female power,
    Ever cleansing, everlasting, Himalayan flower!

  • Daipayan Nair

    SONNET – 3

    COOKERY (A Roseate Sonnet – The experimental form
    by Dr. Ampat Koshy)
    © DN 2015
    06/09/15 22:53

    The sweat stained cooker in fumes
    Nile dripping in tempted tunes
    A clutch, a hold; the eager rolled
    The whistle in a tale, ready to unfold.

    Juvenile hours amidst marine showers
    Marks of younghood imprinted without fail
    A twist, a turn; the cookery ready to burn
    The pirate penning his sail.

    It was evening; it is moon
    There will be a shift soon.

    R- ainbows sketched though no rain
    O- ffered is an eager shade
    S- ay they that even roses do bleed
    E- ffective remains the trade.

  • Santosh


    The Uncanny Silence

    The world shakes with tremor upon tremor wild
    A patient vulture waits to prey on a dying child.
    A Syrian toddler washed on the Turkish shore.
    There being no dearth of tales of senseless gore.

    Alas, humanity is at the crossroads indeed
    Replete with animosity, bloodlust and greed
    Is compassion no longer our creed, I wonder
    Ah, the world is slowly being torn asunder.

    The uncanny silence shrieks, bellows and yells
    As the universe echoes with warning bells.

    Ravages perpetrated by savages gone berserk
    Ominous dangers in every nook and cranny lurk.
    Senseless destruction, murder and mendacity
    Endlessly we lament the triumph of bellicosity.

  • Daipayan Nair

    SONNET – 4

    TOUCH OF YOUTH (A Roseate Sonnet – The experimental form
    by Dr. Ampat Koshy)
    © DN 2015
    07/09/15 21:42

    Noon lit lanes with a touch grim
    The dove with its larynx dipped in scream
    The gammer old tries a new found trick
    Pokes the freedom with her stick.

    Does she not bask in the welcoming dusk?
    Is that effort a mask?
    Does she not play the piper’s pipe-
    reminiscing meadows ripe?

    Where are you?
    Answers nil but curiosities anew

    R- ise does she with a thought
    O- ff goes the flapping
    S- ees with a keen eye, the juvenile rose
    E- ssence of which tattooed on her skin.

  • Kalpana

    Roseate Sonnet
    Symphony with life

    Where is the sunshine
    A life lost its shine
    Behind the night shine
    Suffocating is breathe; mine

    Let me once meet a dream
    To bring a shine to life
    A love of moon beams
    day of the life begins fine

    It is day bringing life
    It is moon bringing light

    R resulting from the mating
    O of the sun and moon bond
    S symphony in universe
    E enchanting is peace

  • Padmini Dutta Sharma

    (C) In the Olive galore
    By Padmini Dutta Sharma

    There was no looking back
    Everything got submerged in the fiasco
    She managed to pass the thread
    Through the needle though…

    There were shadows & marks
    Of deceit and treachery
    On the walls & the meadows
    Quiet akin to the unedited glossary…

    He had perilously thrown every oath asunder
    Coupling for him was a mere appetizer…

    Reposing solitary amidst olive galore
    Only the setting sun that slept no more
    Salvaging every deceit that ruined her soul
    Eternally she put them to rest!

  • Kgadi Marius Mojela

    Roseate Sonnet from Africa – second one!

    Owl’ Of Minerva Illuminatti

    Sonnet 2 (ROSE)

    Woody perrennial of the genus rosa
    She is of the rosaceae family
    Ofen armed of sharp princkles
    Pulchritude lies beneath all the harm

    The ancient symbol of love and pulcher
    Under the rose
    Hidden are untold fairytales
    It is a romance lauguage,feedeth those inlove

    The smell of attar
    And the deepest sip of wine

    Reaved and despoilation of flourish
    Over the great depth of summer
    Silent went the gardens of plantae
    Echoes filled the empty gardens before the autumn harvest

    By – Kgadi Marius Mojela

  • Ipsita Ganguli

    And lest we forget The Rose has Thorns

    So easily you played your game with me
    As the days rolled into weeks,
    and months to years
    So easily you hunted on your prey
    Like a beast in heat wanting your own way

    You spun your yarn so longingly my love
    Your besottedness seemed a treasure trove
    Your mooning swooning methods all the time
    Was nothing but your selfishness sublime

    All you promised were a pack of lies
    Your lovingness was defiance disguised

    Revelations are seldom worthwhile
    Objectives can be pretty heartless too
    Stinking memories can often cause pain
    Entanglements are therefore best restrained

  • Shyamal Kumar Majumder

    At Depth
    (A Roseate Sonnet)

    Learned language at the lap of mother
    Sweet,simple and easy to learn
    May be appeared mother tongue as pacific ocean
    And we become eager divers in it.
    As interesting our deep relationship,
    As enjoyable our deep knowledge.
    As satisfactory our deep meditation
    So bewitchment remains in the core of language like pearl in oyster.
    Light knowledge results in danger, may be disaster
    At times hand calf,at times hanging.
    Raising voice of our souls to meet together
    Overwork at deep level is a must
    Salable materials not to be sold
    Especially hopes,dreams,pens and mother tongue.

    (C) Shyamal Kumar Majumder
    9 Sept,2015.

  • Sunila Kamal Khemchanani

    The Fortunate

    Blooming buds with innocent smiles
    Waved pink apricot palms to invite
    Faces beamed spurting curious fountains
    Hope swam through clear streams on brown rims
    To choose two not so young couples
    With open arms received two delicate buds
    Shravna of three attired in pink pinafore
    In checked shirt, white shorts, krishna of four
    Fortunate two amongst hundred and twelve
    Hugged siblings foster with tears bids farewell
    Reserved were their new homes, future secure
    Orphans will not they be called any more
    Seeds of love had been planted once more
    Everlasting bonds with blessings showered

    Sunila Kamal Khemchanani – Copyright reserved

  • Ampat Koshy

    Wish you were here last night, in the moon’s glow.
    Only the wind was howling so harshly
    Outside my window, letting the sand billow blindly.
    Wish you were here last night, in the moon’s glow.

    Wish we could cradle each other, in our arms.
    Your bosom my pillow, my chest your sun’s hillow,
    Create an island, safe from the world’s low.
    Wish we could cradle each other, in our arms.

    To gather strength to stand firm in the quotidian
    Till our stars shine as one in the heights of the meridian.

    Roaming together or staying, still, in love
    Over the years, even when we are apart
    Speaking or not, in our lives to see move
    Ever, the power of love that won’t depart.

    (c) KOSHY AV

  • Rhiti Bose Post author

    Hushed Whispers – A Roseate Sonnet

    Rhiti Bose

    There are hushed whispers everywhere in the air
    A maiden of twenty, very fair
    Is seen on every moonlit night
    Staggering away with all her might

    A rose in one hand and a dagger in another
    She searches for her lost father
    They say, her feet never touches the ground
    She is followed by her faithful hound

    Lost in the woods, estranged by her father they say
    She was dragged away by dangers of the forest lurking on her way

    Red blue violet white, she is seen in all colours, till the break of dawn
    One hue vanishes after another taking the shade of fawn
    She slowly fades to come back another day
    Enigma remains of the maiden, they say!

    © Rhiti Bose 2015

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    <div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=></div>A part of us is aging, the body; however another part is still young, the mind. Learning wonderful new things is an ongoing and a never ending process.  The satisfaction that comes along with lifelong learning is immense.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
    A part of us is aging, the body; however another part is still young, the mind. Learning wonderful new things is an ongoing and a never ending process. The satisfaction that comes along with lifelong learning is immense.