Friday, March 9, 2018

A Women's History Month Sonnet

In honor of Women's History Month and Poetry Friday, today I'm sharing an original sonnet about a little-known woman of history. You'll find my poem at the end of this post.

Today happens to also be the official release date of the movie adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's classic novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Yesterday, for International Women's Day, a number of people Tweeted about their favorite female authors as part of #IWD2018. Well, Madeleine L'Engle is one of my favorite authors period, male or female.

Our Not for Kids Only Book Club reread A Wrinkle in Time for our March book and we'll be going to see the movie this weekend. While I'm disappointed that the early reviews aren't very positive, I'm still looking forward to the outing. I hadn't read the book in years, yet some of the scenes were still quite vivid in my memory. I'd completely forgotten other parts, though, and I'm curious to see how the story has been interpreted for the film.

Instead of tweeting about authors, yesterday I shared an image honoring the two amazing sisters who inspired my YA novel, Playing by Heart.

As I've shared here before, Playing by Heart grew out of my research for a nonfiction biography of Italian linguist and mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi. Even though I have an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, I never heard of Agnesi until I came across her name in an article about little-known women of history. I wrote the biography, in part, because I found her life fascinating, but also because there are so many myths about her, both in print and online. I still hope to find a publisher for that biography. Meanwhile, I have created a website to dispel some of the myths. Yesterday, for International Women's Day, I posted the above image there, along with some credible references for those who'd like to know the truth of Maria Gaetana's story. I also shared that I'm currently offering a special Playing by Heart "Book Bag and Swag" giveaway for Women's History Month. I invite all our TeachingAuthors readers to enter the giveaway. You'll find all the details on this page of my website, along with a link to where you can download a free PDF excerpt of Playing by Heart.

Later this month, Carla will announce a special Women's History Month book giveaway here on our TeachingAuthors blog. Be sure to watch for that!

I mentioned above that I'd be sharing an original sonnet today--the first I ever wrote. I was inspired by a sonnet published as a tribute to Maria Gaetana Agnesi when she was only five years old. That sonnet, written in Italian, praised how “marvelously” she spoke her first foreign language, French. (Maria Gaetana mastered seven languages by the time she was a teen.) Since I couldn't translate the original sonnet without losing its form, I wrote my own, which you can read below. My sonnet, like the one published in 1723, follows the pattern found in “Italian" sonnets. They have a “turn” or change in thought that is signaled by a change in the rhyme pattern. I hope you can spot the “turn” in my poem. 

By the way, when re-reading A Wrinkle in Time I was struck by something Mrs. Whatsit says that I didn't recall. It, too reads like a poem:

Be sure to check out this month's Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty.

And remember to always Write with Joy!


Linda B said...

I love hearing more about this little-known woman, Carmelo. So many picture book bios are being published about the women we never knew who did great things. Good luck with yours! I do see the 'turn' in your sonnet, like that you wrote your own in a response to the other one. Wow! seven languages and fluent at five with the 2nd! I just read and shared a new Jane Austen pic book bio where the story also told of her courage to fight the norms of little education for girls and only readying for a husband. Some of that remains, doesn't it? Thanks for great post!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Wonderful sonnet about this "feminine phenomenon" (love that!) Thanks for introducing me to these amazing sisters, Carmela.

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I only picked up Wrinkle for the first time last year because I was asked to do some poetry workshops related to themes in the book. I'm certainly glad I did, though! I look forward to seeing the movie, too.

Brenda Harsham said...

Wonderful poem. I love the mix of feminism, poetry and history. Great quote by Mrs. Whatsit, too.

Tabatha said...

"A Wrinkle in Time" was one of my favorite books as a child, so I was nervous about them making a movie of it. Hope you have a good time on your outing. The Mrs. Whatsit quote hits the spot.
I love that someone wrote a sonnet for a five-year-old! How cool is that? Yours is terrific, thanks for sharing it.

Mary Lee said...

A Wrinkle in Time is a keystone book in my reading life. I knew I could see the movie without the book losing it's place. The movie's vision of the story is intriguing, but the book is better.

Hooray for all the feminine phenomenons in the past, present, and future!

Donna Smith said...

I had looked forward to seeing the movie after having read the book as a young girl and then again to my two children. However, the movie veers off from important parts in the book and I no longer have any desire to watch it.
I like hearing about little known men and women who came before us and had brilliant minds. Thanks for sharing these!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Carmela ~ you have a lucrative career as poet ahead of you! Well...perhaps not LUCRATIVE...but you certainly have the ear, the fluency and the creativity...more, please!

Carmela Martino said...

So sorry not to reply to all your lovely comments sooner. I've been offline most of the past week. Yes, Linda, sadly, we're still fighting some of the same issues today.
Thanks Michelle and Brenda. Glad you liked the sonnet.
Tabatha, yes, it was not only cool that someone dedicated a sonnet to a 5-year-old, but without it, we wouldn't have known how exceptional and well-known she was at the time. The info we have about her childhood is scant.
Mary Lee and Donna, while the movie was visually stunning, I was disappointed in what they left out from the book.
April, thanks so much for the affirmation of my poetry. I still hesitate to call myself a poet, even though I wrote poetry long before I turned to prose.