About the Author

Sonnet L'Abbe

Books by this Author
Killarnoe
Excerpt

OH

(((((o)))))

this o is my throat
this o is my oh yeah
this o is my really
this o is my credulousness

((((o))))

this o is my soundful closed
this o is my politeness
this o is my mask
this o is my feigned interest

(((o)))

this o is my I see
this o is the shared place
this o is my sympathy
this o is my mistake

((o))

this o is my aha
this o is my incredulousness
this o is my startling backward
this o is our otherness

(o)

this o is just o
this o is symbolic sound
this o is the presence of nothing
this o is common ground

o

this o is my lips
this o is my gentle kiss
this o is my suckling
o my greedy tenderness

oh
uh-oh
oh

A Word about the Poem by Sonnet L’Abbe
One of the interests I explore in Killarnoe is the unspoken relationship of phonemes (basic units of sound in language, like “ah,” or “sh,” or “uh”) to meaning. There’s an intuitive connection between the feeling elicited in the body when pronouncing a word and its signification. For example, the pristine sound of “ee” suggests a clean, free motion or a scream, while the hollow sound of “oh” suggests something lower, something whole and orblike.

I’m also interested in how these sounds get coded culturally, in what “sounds foreign” to Canadian ears. Where bazaars are common, names with “z” aren’t bizarre, but what does it mean to be named Aziz or Zalena here?

How the Poem Works by Margaret Christakos
Living in parentheses is resisted through utterance, on the wing’s highest heart and at language’s most inner pitches, so that the reverberations of that tiniest of bon mots signifies the radiance of the self. L’Abbe’s incantatory repetition and melodic optimism complete a notative poetics of private thought, of public comeback, and of identity inscription. Greedy, and tender, like the mouth itself.

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Sonnet's Shakespeare
Excerpt

XIII

The crocheted afghan’s mint green, white, and yellow squares were yarny buttons activating superpowers. I wore it like a fabulous cape, or draped it carefully over leggy tables to build a fort. My green and lemon-yellow infinity gear had twenty-thousand superpowers, more than your enemy could ever teach herself to check. In each square lived magic at my fingertips: touch the first corner, become invisible. Ding the second, you shower your befuddled opponent with freezing sparkles. A candy-flavoured gas I called “sweet sleep” numbed villains; an alchemist’s button turned most other metals gold; there was one to give me X-ray vision. A blanket that shot bullets, deathrays, or stunbeams out of yarn-worsted mechanisms chastened many a scoundrel holding commonplace lasers. Friends were issued an older crocheted throw, camel beige, little differentiation between the knitty nodules of power blanketry. You could heal yourself again, after yourself’s decease, with resurrection force; you could spend hours under water, breathing effortlessly; your memory could store answers to a billion tests. With form-shifting power I could become a robotess who obliterates sofa cushions; or my telepathic power use to transfer suggestion of a McDonald’s lunch into Dad’s head. The chums I played with were sometimes real children. But chums were banned from my superfriendship early on: a neighbour’s mom got frightened when SuperZach love-controlled me against the storm door, my afghan’s pushbuttons confiscated; when SuperKevin got turned into a rat, his dad called me a gypsy. Action-figured boys warred outside, me in their brigades, Sonnet of Death, Sonnet of Supernatural Weather Control, bad-ass Sonnet of Dazzling Ebullience. But uneasy mothers wielded a Force, a Shield of Fear, that enveloped domesticity. It repelled loves from, you know, miscegeny. No button had my afghan to fight against Mother Control, no power called Let Your Sons Play House With Sonnet.

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