Welcome to The Sonnetarium
A sonnetarium is composed of sounds - machines & screams, midnight machinations of the iridescent, convalescent, electric, unicorn-slippered strait jacket bound. We are the disenfranchised, the abhorred, the disturbed & disturbing you lured to store somewhere in silence safe. Sleepwalking shiftless waifs yearn for release from an asylum of anonymous seasons. To steep in steam & tepid half-filled baths, lethargic limbs, arid albino leaves that wake mutilated, shake to sediment & make of its own desperate desiccation a sign. From dregs we align, assign an alphabet to our indignities, a language of survival by which a captive community is found & bound.
I read your sign and know that you are one of mine.
Inmates, we read it in the chants & ceremonies of scarification, splintered histories that echo the endemic animal mysteries of a life. We hear it in the howls & growls & bleats, the universal sounds of systemic suffering of euthanized, skeletonized souls. They hide us here, inhuman, because the beasts within our bodies threaten all bureaucracies, the base and the benign. We are divine. We are not in their submission or thrall, and so to The Sonnetarium we are recalled.
A sonnetarium speaks in the language of sonnets & everything frenetic, poetic that is not. It’s poetry – told with whatever the fuck tools you got – your erasures, your found words, the miserly-mined gold of 3 a.m. stories told, pedantic rants in coffee shops, Waffle House restaurants, your ever open ears savored, overheard & memorized. It is a mantra memorialized, teen dream wilting of a once beautiful thing recited a thousand times in seething silence before it hits a retina and is heard – syllabic shame renamed, claimed & eulogized by strangers word for word. We speak it in rhyme or it comes to us in shapes. The language of desperation is insane survivalism, and we celebrate it in verse, free and iambic, whatever formulations it takes to escape.
Together we will.
Here is my sign, spoken in the voice of a friend of mine, Kendall Bell, @kashleybell, It’s a sonnet I wrote called Kristins when I decided to name my wound that had haunted me for over 15 years. I put my name to a story I was most embarrassed to tell. In doing this impossible thing, I made friends with people all over the world. One of them was Kendall. Kristins was first published in Here Comes Everyone: The Brutal Issue and then in my first chapbook Pink Plastic House published by Kendall’s press, Maverick Duck, @MaverickDuck. Kendall Bell read this poem as his poem of the week on his Youtube channel, porkrolleggandcheese.
Check out Maverick Duck, where you can purchase Pink Plastic House, Kendall’s new chapbook Chasing The Skyline and many other titles.
To say this another way, my name is Kristin Garth. I write a lot of sonnets (among other things like poetry books, prose poems, CNF and now a column) and this is your introduction to The Sonnetarium. The aesthetic is desperate primitive passion and ache in whatever form of poetry that it takes. Every week, I’ll either be featuring a poet, editor, literary magazine, introducing a contest, featuring a winner of a contest, ranting about something poetic or obscene – so many things, but one thing there will always be is poetry, at least one every week in The Sonnetarium.
The Sonnetarium will meet here each week on Thursdays at Spider Mirror Journal. Join us next week for an interview with my co-editor of the Slender Man anthology Mansion, Justin Karcher.
Until then, remember The Sonnetarium is a scream inside an animal heart. It beats inside of you relentless always. Email me at email@example.com if you would like to contribute art for ekphrastic poetry challenges or to say hello.
Read my poem Candy Cigarettes, a Best of the Net nominee from @boneninkpress, and the title poem of my full length chapbook Candy Cigarette.