Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Geist Jackpine Sonnet Contest

What the jack­pine son­net is:
A sonnet-like poem.

Where it comes from:
Milton Acorn (1923 – 1986), a poet from Prince Edward Island, cre­ated the genre and named it after the jack pine, a tree that seeds itself in fire.

How to write one:
Write a poem with 14 lines, each line con­tain­ing 7 to 13 syl­la­bles. But, in Acorn’s words, “If your son­net cuts itself off — click! — at, say line 12, 18 or 20, leave it at that.” An odd num­ber of lines is okay too. Apply the rhyme scheme of your choice, and if no rhyme comes up, be patient. Acorn advised writ­ers to write inter­nal rhymes (rhymes within a line) or exter­nal rhymes (rhymes at the end of con­sec­u­tive lines) “to keep the flow.” In the absence of rhyme, use asso­nance (the rep­e­ti­tion of vowel sounds), “to keep the rhyme alive in order to come up with a true rhyme fur­ther on.”

First prize: $500

Second prize: $250

Third prize: $125

How to enter the con­test: Write a jack­pine son­net and send it to Geist by post or by fill­ing out the form below. Include a $10 entry fee, which buys you a one-year sub­crip­tion to Geist, dig­i­tal edition.

Contest dead­line: Canada Day, July 1, 2010

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