Electric Lit: Avatars Read Sonnets

John Reed

Hmm, to explain myself, these three sonnets [below] are part of a sequence I’ve been working on since 2008. My sonnets have been read by pornstars, webcam models, and now I’ve moved onto avatars, who I recorded from the avatar website, sitepal.

Now, I know sonnets are old fashioned and quaint, but if you indulge me, the next time we have a drink I’ll pick up the tab, or at least let you run out of the bar first.

Ok, good, so, when I first started writing these, I was working with the structure of a “Shakespearian” sonnet, which of course wasn’t invented by Shakespeare, but is now associated with him. I had, uh, “bard on the brain,” having just finished All the World’s A Grave (Plume, 2008), a new play I wrote by culling and rearranging lines from the works of Shakespeare: Prince Hamlet goes to war to capture Juliet, and returns to his country to find that his mother had murdered his father and married Macbeth. But for the sonnets, I couldn’t stick with Shakespeare, and I adjusted and revised until I had what I think is a contemporary, American form: 13 lines, with rhymes that aren’t consciously audible. (Sidenote: Did you know that execution day in early America was Friday the 13? If you had hot corn to sell, that was the day to go the town square to find a crowd.)

Oh, but I have kept Shakes’ themes.

Sonnets, in my estimation, are about sex and lust, and occasionally self-righteous rage. That seems like a “timeless” list of subjects, no?

I rankle at the notion of “timelessness.” ...

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