Friday, January 2, 2009

Poetry Friday: A Sonnet for the New Year



A Sonnet for the New Year

Resolved: to be more alert, less snooze-deprived,
thus, to strive for clarity, or at least to make sense
after sundown, thus, tangentially, to imbibe
less Dark Italian Roast –triple shot, milk whole, foam dense.

Resolved: to balance my PH, thus, to be less heavyweight,
by filling myself up with pea vines and flax seeds,
cabbage, collards, kale, and barley grass in its raw state,
and to drink more reverse-osmosis water than a body needs.

Resolved: to be less critical, less caustic, to lose my edge
and be kinder to the Self-Help crowd. And to buy fewer books,
to organize my socks. To clean dog hair from under the beds,
to be less chatty, to be more contained, to be less of a shnook.

Resolved: I will control myself. I will be ruled, thus, less unruly.
You won’t even know me. So know me soon, while I’m still Julie.



Here's one of my favorite quotations of 2008, taken from a September interview of Billy Collins by a reporter for the Washington Times:

Q: The "Billy Collins" character you've created inside your poems, what is he like?

A: He's unemployed, obviously; he must have some kind of trust fund, obviously. He has downshifted tremendously, he is moving 14 mph, while everyone is moving at 65. He has a slow take on things. One of his characteristics is his ability to modulate time and let it wash over him, not to spend it. I wish I were him. I made him up out of other literary characters. He is wonderfully irresponsible.


Poetry Friday this week is being hosted over at A Year of Reading.


  1. This amused me more than I can tell you.

    But I don't think you should organize your socks. That would be going too far.

  2. Ha! Love your sonnet!
    But what's a snook??

  3. So nice to know you, unruly Julie. My socks are madly in love with you :).

  4. Fine poem.
    Don't ever lose your edge or unrulyness.
    p.s. I think it's "shnook" not "snook."

  5. to make sense after sundown...

    I think I've lost that one forever. Good luck to you!

  6. Ooops on the snook. I entered my post at 2:00 a.m. - New Year's Resolution: Go to bed earlier.

    For fun, I looked up snook, in case it would be funny to be one. Not. Take your pick of snooks:

    1. James H. Snook - Olympic Medalist in Pistol Shooting, convicted murderer, and inventor of the Snook Hook used to spay animals.
    2. A city in Texas.
    3. A rap group in Sweden.
    4. Snook I and Snook II - ill-fated U.S. Navy Submarines.
    5. Various fish, i.e. common snook, shark snook, etc.

    No, I defintely meant shnook. Also spelled schnook. As in, the common schnook.

  7. A rap group in Sweden!?!?

    Oh, unruly Julie -- if you are more ruled and full of pea vines and flax, I'm afraid we shan't know you anymore. This is hilarious and why I really shouldn't bother writing resolutions.

    I'm still giggling over being kinder to the self-help crowd. Don't lose your edge!

  8. I love your poem, especially the last couplet. And I read snook as schnook. Maybe you need to be Jewish. . .

    And you old inspirer, you inspired me:

    Resolved: A Poem for New Year’s

    I have decided not to resolve,
    but to solve the problem
    of resolutions
    by not making any promises
    I cannot keep.
    So I will not resolve
    to stay away from chocolate
    or eat more celery.
    I will not vow to walk
    a mile each day
    or a mile each way,
    despite weather or whether
    I want to stay in and write.
    I will not believe I will be early
    on all my books
    and early paying my bills
    or sending thank you notes.
    I will not assume that this is the year
    I learn to make power point
    one of my personal skills
    or cooking seven new dishes
    or taking up watercolors.
    Solving and not resolving
    makes the New Year
    so much easier to meet now,
    so much easier to forget.


  9. Julie and Jane, Both of your poems made me laugh out loud. Brilliant!

    And I got Ballistics for Christmas--just finished the other poetry book I was immersed in, so I get to start Ballistics now!

    Happy New Year, y'all.

  10. This is Jess Leader saying, please don't lose your edge! I don't think you ever could, but please don't. Who else would bring us poems by Leonard Nimoy?

  11. Thanks, all. And Jess, it was great seeing you at the VCFA residency in cold, sunny Montpelier. Always happy to share what's made it to the top of my Worst Poem Ever Written list. Nimoy makes frequent appearances. Here is another, one I didn't share with everyone at the residency, but it's definitely a keeper for the Worst Ever:

    Rocket ships
    Are exciting
    But so are roses
    On a birthday

    Computers are exciting
    But so is a sunset
    And logic
    Will never replace

    Sometimes I wonder
    Where I belong
    In the future
    Or In the past

    I guess I'm just
    An old-fashioned
    [P.S. The question I put to Vermont College of Fine Arts/Writing for Children students was, "Why is this poetry?" If you don't think it is, help me understand why so many people think it is not only poetry, but is some of the best poetry around. Just google Nimoy and Poetry if you don't think he's got a bigger fan club than Mary Oliver. ]