The other day I wrote about Quiz Bowl, and briefly mentioned my glory days on middle school Academic Team. Some things about ourselves never change—I’m coaching quiz bowl over twenty years later—but many, thankfully, do.
For me, an important change is my attitude towards poetry. As a doughy middle schooler, I thought poetry was terrible. To my chubby past self’s credit, a great deal of what is presented as poetry is terrible. Indeed, much of it is worse than bathroom stall doggerel, which at least has to rhyme; possess a sense of rhythm; and be funny.
My appreciation for poetry began to turn around sometime in high school, and continued through college, but even after I started writing my own songs, I still mostly thought poetry was garbage, even as I snapped along politely while waiting my turn to play at various open mic nights. A few important people helped change my mind: Jeremy Miles; the folks at Dragon Common Room; and the subject of today’s Supporting Friends Friday: Son of Sonnet.
Son of Sonnet—“Son” for short—is the nom de plume of poet, actor, and stage combat expert Michael Gettinger. I’ve come to know Son through a couple of different Telegram chats, where he once shared his poetry frequently. Now he has his own Telegram channel, where he posts his signature sonnets (he also posts them on Gab and Minds, so if you prefer those platforms, check him out there). These sonnets are often done on-demand or by request—readers request sonnets on particular subjects, and Son obliges.
The results are excellent, and make for fun reading. Son is “one of us”—an old soul (his now-defunct podcast was called Old Soul Narrations) in a stage combat enthusiast’s body (I don’t think any of the rest of us here are experienced in stage combat, but you get the idea). His sonnets range from exploring the beautiful and sublime to the wretched and political (but I repeat myself), and he approaches both with a keen mastery of rhyme, rhythm, and the sonnet form.
Here is a recent one about Halloween, which I hope he won’t mind me quoting in full:
A Poem for Halloween
By Son of Sonnet
We fake our love of scares on Halloween,
Participation trophies in our sweets.
We wear our costumes in order to be seen,
Distracting from the fear beneath the sheets.
An invisible hand presents our dreams,
that we as children accept as the truth.
Our lives begin to sprout repeating themes,
and sweets begin to rot the eager tooth.
Some days invisible, and others trapped
In labyrinths of political thought.
We’re told that turning left is where we’re apt,
But not how we prevent what monsters wrought.
We turn to prayer when the dark descends,
and ask that outside knowledge sometime gleam.
But we are answered by the death of friends,
and we become the beasts of Halloween.
Perhaps a harmless wish to have some fun,
but what do we accomplish when it’s done?
It’s dark even for a poem about Halloween! But he adeptly explores the conceit of Halloween—our desire to enjoy fake scares that are, of course, quite harmless, but in the process we’re capable of becoming quite monstrous, hiding anonymously behind the masks of computer screens, delving into “labyrinths of political thought” until “we become the beasts of Halloween.”
Of course, my hasty reading could be utter hogwash, but if I’m right, it’s a pretty subtle and damning statement on how we play at being frightened, while desperately ignoring the very real presence of death and destruction in our lives.
Regardless, I would encourage you to check out the rest of Son’s work—and to consider a subscription to his SubscribeStar page. He’s a good poet, but he hasn’t enjoyed some of the opportunities that other poets and creators on our side have carved out for themselves lately. I’m hoping he will release a collection of his sonnets soon as a self-published volume, his work schedule permitting; if he does, I will let readers know right away.
With that, I also have an announcement to make: Son’s sonnets will be appearing here at The Portly Politico the first and third Wednesdays of each month, starting in November 2021. In an effort to support our little community of creators and bloggers, I’ve commissioned him to produce these twice-monthly poems for our enjoyment, and he has agreed to accept the extremely paltry sum I’ve offered (your subscription to my SubscribeStar page could help me support even more writers!).
Please give him a warm welcome to The Portly Politico family!