I recently had a poem published in Upstart: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, as part of their Out Of Sequence: The Sonnet’s Remixed project. Editor D.Gilson says of the project that ‘I was most interested in editing this collection as a way of exploring how in a specific moment — today, the second decade of the twenty-first century — we might remix the most famous poetic sequence of all time, William Shakespeare’s The Sonnets’.
The responses to the sonnets are varied and spectacular. As Gilson writes in his introduction: ‘Here you will find a wide variety of remixes; entries various by their form — poems, short essays, comics, songs, and art; and various by their remixer — poets, essayists, artists, musicians, and scholars. As such, I imagine these pages as a type of queer utopia, a place where things and people touch, though they are too often taught not to.’
My poem, Engraft, is a found poem sourced from sonnet number 15. You can read it (and Shakespeare’s original) below, however I strongly urge you to also visit the Upstart website, and explore all the other amazing remixes on offer. In particular take a look at my fellow Australian poets Stuart Barnes’ and Ivy Alvarez’s creations (numbers 6 & 13 respectively) – they’re terrific! Enjoy.
Man is conceived upon this sullied stage
And like a seedling grows, but then decreases.
He vaunts his youthful sap in brave conceit,
Till wasteful time decays his day to night.
Everything holds but a little moment —
Even your perfection cannot stay.
So I’ll make war with time and as he takes you,
Make love, and with my pen engraft you new.
When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.