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 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.”
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:
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
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