This program is made possible through a generous gift from Ruth and Russell Bolton
in conjunction with the Eberly College of Arts & Sciences.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Very Scary Sonnets

It was a dark and stormy night last Tuesday. Okay, not really. After a weekend of abysmal weather, things were finally clearing up. The temperatures were no longer flirting with frost, and you could walk outside without wanting to run right back on in. But that didn't matter because the weather inside the RFL Apartment in the Honors Dorm was downright cheery, and cheer seemed hard to come by last week with everyone steeped in midterm madness.

We celebrated October with scary stories that night. We kicked off the night with freewriting about our scariest experiences, focusing on how centering our writing around realistic details and the five senses makes a scary experience stick with the reader. And man, did those scary experiences stick: a haunted elevator in the Downtown Library, walking home to discover a shattered window, the slow realization that a man is staring at you as he lays along the rail trail, and an organic chemistry professor that actually teaches you how to drug your friends. Embellishment was encouraged.

A few students had to leave halfway through -- did I mention it was midterms -- but for those brave souls that stuck around, we tackled the scariest of all poetry forms: the sonnet. The students' courage paid off, though, because these sonnets were good and scary. Read below...if you dare.

"Untitled" by Ben Stansbery
I had to get a book from the library;
But rumor had that an old ghost lived there.
This made my motivation lead toward the contrary.
I decided to go, courage like mine was rare.

My book was in a hallway, old and lean,
My courage began to falter, just a bit.
The hallway was dark, looked in all ways mean,
And my confidence had just about quit.

The air conditioner growled like an old beast,
The bookshelves crammed, making it hard to see
If a ghost waited to make me his feast.
Then I heard a sound that frightened me;
An elevator bell, with no floor to find,
And I ran away, a laughing ghost behind.

"Untitled" by Chris McBride

I strolled my way into the lecture hall;

This was not my first match with chemistry.

I made my way down the steps and fall.

Knowing me, this couldn’t have been a mystery.

My eyes were set upon the board.

Could I see from this distance?

The professor walks in, oh Lord!

Knowing him, I will need some persistence.

He welcomes the frightened class as they enter

He seems a bit gruff but I think I can handle

Approaches the board and writes his name in the center

I look at the floor and notice he’s wearing one sandal.

Although appearances may give your first impression,

I would only use them at your highest discretion.

It turns out that the only thing scary that night was how good their sonnets are.
Stop on by next time for a post-Halloween writing fest. November 8th at 7:30. RFL Apartment. Honors Hall.

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