KORREKTIV 2017 POETRY CONTEST: “Pop Sonnet 2017” (or, “Iamb in the Place Where You Are!”)

I found this somewhere online and thought it would be a great idea for a Korrektiv Poetry Contest. We haven’t had one of those in a while, so why not? Winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd and two Honorable Mentions) will be announced on Shakespeare Day 2017 (April 23). Each will receive – well, something Shakespearey, I suppose.


  1. Each participant may submit up to three (3) sonnets each.
  2. Each submission must be a Shakespearean sonnet (Shakespearean in form and in style: archaic Elizabethan language and all (see Gaynor example above)—the more clever the better chance the submission has of winning).
  3. Each submission must retain the title and composer of the original pop song (again, see above).
  4. Each submission must be a reworking of a recognizable pop love song (not something your sister’s best friend wrote and composed on a kazoo)—with a theme of either love desired (e.g. “I Want Your Sex”), love gained (e.g. “You Light Up My Life”), or, like Ms. Gaynor’s immortal work, love lost.
  5. All poems must appear in the comment box for this post for consideration.
  6. Winners will be notified in advance of the official announcement here at the Korrektiv.
  7. And, yes, the contest is decidedly open to all members of the Korrektiv Kollektiv.
  8. DEADLINE: April 1, 2017

Any questions?

Then get scribbling!


  1. I ran across this line from a recent interview with Spanish novelist Juan Manuel de Prada:
    “De los grandes escritores, como del marrano, se aprovecha todo”.
    ‪”From great writers, like from a pig, everything gets used.”
    Thought you might appreciate the agrarian reference, and its call to an earthy appreciation of literary tradition.
    Maybe someone could pen a poem about that…

    • From cheesy meat hewn from the head
      To cheek and ear named for sweet bread
      To bacon’s strip of fatty belly
      And bones to make the aspic’s jelly

      So we must seize these poppy themes
      And bend them to the sonnet’s schemes
      To find the secret pool of tears
      Within the songs of Britney Spears

  2. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    No surgeon can carve out the pit of pain
    that lodges deep within my wretched breast,
    nor poultice to unheat the burning brain
    relieve the fever by which I’m oppress’t.
    The pothecary offers not a pill,
    nor is there balm in all of Araby
    to lessen e’en a whit this grievous ill
    and bring my humours into harmony.
    No royal touch can purge the loathsome taint;
    all Galen’s books as well be writ in Greek;
    in stony dumbness stands each graven saint;
    yet Doctor orders me thyself to seek:
    My sickness was thy going hence from me,
    my medicine be nothing else but thee.

    Carol Douglas, ‘Doctor’s Orders’

  3. Could I let others know about this? You know, gasp, free advertizing?

  4. Rebecca Bratten Weiss says

    Within the night’s expiring hour we lie,
    Together, still yet sundered as by miles –
    Unwitting, was it word or deed that I
    Unfolded too ungently, joy defiled?
    Tis true, they say: that every blooming rose
    Doth hide beneath its blush the piercing thorn –
    That every swain who guards the ambling cows
    Singeth sorrow to the beckoning morn.
    I feed my love upon thy favorite song –
    The minstrel says that love is but a game
    An easy guest, who bids farewell ere long –
    And wonder, hath he entertained such pain?
    And in my heart I know: thou’d not have fled
    If this in time might I to thee have said.

    Poison, “Every Rose Has its Thorn”

  5. Roguish O'Leary says

    This sin I do to you in shame confess
    That made thee sure this more than friendship be
    And knowing not thy poor heart’s sweet distress
    Did’st yet again make light of constancy
    If now I can beweep thy outcast state
    Mine own love’s strength thus to subside
    No prayerful petition could abate
    The wilting of what hidden in me lied
    You played with me, thus I with thee dids’t play
    And from thy catechizing looks I learn’d
    By rote the bookish glances that today
    Your gull’d heart thinks it has by spending earn’d
    Forgive me for bending thy thoughts in pain
    O cold conclusion! I did it again

    Britney Spears, “Oops!… I Did It Again”

  6. Alas, no satisfaction cans’t I receive
    Though the attempt repeatedly I make
    Whilst rambling in horseless carriage, without reprieve
    Some gentleman drones counsel I shan’t take
    Say I, I cannot find contentedness
    Though heartily do I endeavor more
    The flashing box promotes dementedness
    Of a launderer whose tobacco I abhor
    Again, bereft, unsatisfied, I cry
    Whilst I bemoan the maid with eyes so fair
    Who to answer my entreaty doth deny
    Even a fleeting glance with me to share
    Cheerfulness eludeth me ever
    In delight I shall indulge myself never

    -The Rolling Stones
    I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

  7. Thou say’st love’s a river to drown a tender reed
    That love is just a razor to slice thy soul to core
    Thou point’st to love’s hunger, its endless aching need
    Yet I know love is a flower, and thou its only spore.
    Thou heart afraid of breaking will never learn to dance
    Thou hand that won’t be taken will never reach to give
    Thou dream afraid of waking will never take a chance
    Thou soul afraid of dying will never learn to live.
    When nights become too lonely, thou roads become too long
    And days bestow a single, trailing shadow on the knoll
    Thou think’st love be only for the blessed and the strong
    And hang’st thy head in sorrow wrenched by emptiness of soul
    But hidden in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow
    Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in spring becomes the rose

    -The Rose, Bette Midler

  8. Oceans cans’t not keep us apart
    Not death and neither its silence
    Time dost not confine our hearts
    Or crush our sweet alliance
    In dreams this night thou comes so near
    To show this heart the way
    And beat the song we both shall hear
    Forever and a day
    Beneath my breast thy song is held
    And heard with sight and touch
    Thy distance with my present melds
    Have lovers ever loved so much?
    Nay, near or far wherever thou art
    Our hearts will go on and never part.
    –The Heart Goes On, Celine Dion (The Titanic Theme)

  9. First once, then twice, then thrice—my mistress shall not
    Be found to spend her time in dalliance, when, lo!
    Most certain her love, yet with uncertainty fraught
    Is her desire—alas, she faints when I go!
    My mistress, surrender, and thus, enliven me
    As thy parents and mine did. Call not their ways strange!
    Hail, thee! Hail, thee! Hail, thee! Hail, thee! Hail, thee!
    This vastness between us you must disarrange.
    Lo, how the world fades, and love is no diff’rent.
    Our hearts we must quiet, true stoics become.
    I hunger not for either dance or thy parents.
    My speech here is forthright. Let us join as one.

    Ice cold art thou, mistress. Grow bold in delight!
    And shak’st thy body as one an instant woodcut might.
    –“Hey Ya!” Outkast

  10. Courtney F. says

    At dawn when I arise the sun to greet
    With forbidding dread its sovereign eye,
    And tread my course with ever-failing feet,
    My heavy soul doth seem content to die.
    I hie me to the glass to there confer
    With mine own visage, who cries out perforce
    To heaven, and, as weeping boughs of myrrh,
    The bitt’rest tears his pleas to thus endorse.
    O, Lord, thou knowest well I have kept faith
    With thee, this long and empty run of years,
    Though weary time hast made of me a wraith,
    Love’s ledger sadly fallen in arrears.
    And so, I crave a boon from Thee above,
    Canst Thou not find me somebody to love?

    –Freddie Mercury, “Somebody To Love”

  11. Fr. Richard Libby says

    Should I conceal myself ‘neath bluebird wing
    As she gives song, and should the bird of dawn
    Forsake his office – what a glorious thing!
    Alas, he calls. I rise, I blink, I yawn.
    I hie myself unto the lavat’ry
    To shave. The razor, like ingratitude,
    Is cold, and like a sometime friend gone by,
    It stings; yet gladsome is my attitude.
    Thou thought me once a brave and horsed knight
    In habit white, but since discover’d me
    A man, no more; an ordinary wight
    Who spends not money, but good times with thee.
    O be ye blithe and merry, sleepy Jean!
    Believe thy daydreams, my homecoming queen!

    The Monkees, “Daydream Believer”
    (written by John Stewart)

  12. Fr. Richard Libby says

    Alas! My heart, how heavy ’tis with woe!
    She put me down; I find myself forlorn.
    ’Til late at night, out on the town I go,
    A-bed remaining well into the morn.
    But Rhonda – oh, how fair you are to see!
    But little time were needed, so I trow;
    Were you to come and keep me company,
    Methinks I should forget her even now.
    She plighted me her troth, to be my wife,
    But then she met another she lov’d more.
    I saw your count’nance, Rhonda; share my life!
    Oh, help me, Rhonda; that I do implore.
    Your help, O Rhonda, I bid you, impart!
    I conjure you, extract her from my heart.

    The Beach Boys, “Help Me, Rhonda”
    (written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love)

  13. O Lady, smiles abound when thou art near!
    To me donate thy bount of love, my lief.
    With your sweet hands build me when wreck I fear.
    As priests give shrift, your touch all woe can shrief.
    O Lady, from thy dawn upon my eye
    You rendered surfeit me dulcet passión
    Like single star newborn within the sky
    So shy, like naked newborn babe now grown.
    Should I ever suffer destitution
    Reveal to me the witchcraft in your lips.
    Beside me lie each evening and in restitution
    Love will take love in gentle soothing sips.
    Thou art my lady of the morning moiety
    Sparkling, clear, and loving, you’re my lady.

     “Lady” by Dennis DeYoung

  14. Recall when I emancipated thee
    Thy trust in me thou could’st enumerate
    I vowed that day to ever faithful be,
    If thou should wist, in somewise be there straight.

    Nor wind nor rain nor winters bitter cold
    Mayst stop me if you feel yourself travailed
    Thou art my destination and my goal
    E’en if I’m cabined, cribbed, confined, assailed.
    My love lives in the chapter of my bosom
    Though miles might keep us both so far apart
    If e’er thou need’st a hand to help thy dorsum
    To answer in the method of the heart…

    No mountain’s high enough, no valle so low
    No rill so wide enough to keep me from you.

    – “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye

  15. ****Contest Now Closed!********

    Thanks so much, everyone for your contributions!

    I’ll be posting winners on April 23!



  16. A Father’s Entry

    Lord, you have searched me and you know me,
    And that inner part you illuminated
    Now hangs off the front, like a gut.

    “Sure, you can press the button.”

    The sun rises, and I, by a long, slow, spiritual dialysis,
    Am coming to you, Lord. After all,
    There is some progress under this earthly veil.

    “Yes, you can get a Christmas book.”

    While I take out the trash, under the full moon,
    I marvel at how fast it all goes. Through the
    Barrage of joy and love, in you and by you,
    I hope to be your true friend before the end.

    “Pick up your toys and come to the table.”

    Thank you, Lord. Thank you.
    And with the exception of that ugly sub-plot,
    It is all you, Lord, through and through.
    Ego consecro me ad vos.

    “Yes, I am done. Let me read you that book.”

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