The Return of the Angry Sonnet

During my years at UVA, I was incredibly lucky to study under Roy Wagner. Roy is, without doubt, one of the most brilliant anthropologists who ever muttered the word, “culture”. He’s also a phenomenal writer. I was luckier, still, that Roy took some interest in me as a writer, which resulted in a very pleasant friendship.

One afternoon, as a we were departing from Roy’s Mythodology course (Mythodology is not a misspelling), I posed to Roy that is impossible to write an angry sonnet because the rhyming couplet at the end effectively deflates any of the malice built up in the prior stanzas. He took my statement as a challenge and immediately began writing fantastically angry sonnets. We took turns writing angry sonnets for each other over the semester, and then Roy took it a step farther and composed a beautiful book of Mayan sonnets.

It has been several years since I’ve written an angry sonnet and about three years since I’ve spoken to Roy, but I find myself in a position where I’d like to start composing angry sonnets once more. There’s something very therapeutic about turning anger and aggression into creative hilarity.  So for the first time in years, I present to you an angry sonnet…

 

homo triumliterarum

Oh, you’re a vile, seething, covetous cunt,
And my compassion for you becomes dust,
For excuses to plunder what you want,
In your wretched eyes, makes thievery just.
While the accountable know they must work
For their merit – no gift from the sidelines –
With piteously outstretched arms, you lurk,
Righteously discontent in your confines.
Like others, I attempted to befriend
You, unaware of your fast resentment.
Friendship, charity – given to no end –
Instead, to my own profane detriment.
But though your offense caused me much grief,
I am recompensed: all know you’re a thief.

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