From Stella

For my second project, I decided to write a sonnet inspired by Sir Philip Sydney’s series of sonnets, “Astrophil and Stella”. In this poems, Astrophil seems to take a strong liking, possible obsession towards Stella. However, through the poems, it comes across as he is only interested in her physical appearance, rather than who she is as a person. To a modern day reader, this comes off as more misogynistic than romantic. For my sonnet, I wrote it in more modern-day like language but made sure to not use any modern day references to make it appear as if it was more ‘timeless’. I also decided to write in the perspective of Stella, as if she was writing back to Astrophil, trying to politely decline his interest in her. 

Hope this finds you well, the words from my quill,
I must confess words that sit in my brain,
I know that it’s hard to swallow this pill,
This love is something I can no longer feign,
I can no longer hold back, I must spill,
Never meant to cause you any of this pain,
While our time together has been a thrill,
There is just nothing left for us to gain,
But oh my lovely, dearest Astrophil,
Hope that your sun is not replaced with rain,
For you will find love one day, but until—
I understand if you view with disdain,
I hope that passion remains in your heart,
Even in this hard time while we part

This was a bit of a struggle for me because poetry has never been one of my strong suits. I did not know exactly what made a sonnet a sonnet on the top of my head, so I had to do a quick Google search to refresh my memory on what makes a sonnet a sonnet. The main components seemed to be fourteen lines, ten syllables in each line, and iambic pentameter. The fourteen lines and the ten syllables I succeeded at. However, I struggled with the iambic pentameter and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp it, so it is most likely lacking from my sonnet. Whoops. Besides that, I do think that my sonnet came out alright.

My project responds to the question, “why does literature matter” because I think that it is important to consider other people’s perspectives, especially in literature. Texts are a way to get glimpses into different worlds and time periods. While maybe Astrophil’s point of view is interpreted by a modern reader as misogynistic, someone of that time period may have a different takeaway from it. Then, taking the poem and transforming it into Stella’s point of view as I did helps give another perspective. I have always found stories told in another character’s perspective than they were originally written in as interesting, so that’s why I decided to complete a sonnet in Stella’s point of view as my project.

2 thoughts on “From Stella

  1. I think you did a marvelous job, even if it doesn’t include iambic pentameter (which I couldn’t tell you whether or not it does, even IF I’m a creative writing focus, because, well, sonnets are restrictive and classist and just Difficult – your ambition to create one in the first place is really what makes the piece the most special, in my opinion). Structured poetry is hair-rippingly difficult, so even following the form this closely is a well-maneuvered miracle. I did something adjacent to this project (aka Take Astrophil & Stella, then make it gay because… why not) and didn’t look up the rules for sonnets at all, so honestly, keeping up your resolve to continue this project after learning properly about sonnets is quite impressive. I have to disagree with part of your reflection, however; it’s easy to judge from our perspective in history, and so we should, whole-heartedly! I think literature is crucial to structuring culture, so I believe that these poems may have shaped and paved the way for modern Heterosexual Romance(tm), which is often a horrible system by which the gender binary and gender discrimination is reinforced. If people did read it as romantic, it would only perpetuate the Romantic literature movement and all that accompanied it in terms of culture.
    Again, impressive work even attempting a sonnet, these are a tough nut to crack! Have a safe winterim!

  2. I always enjoy projects that take older texts and put a modern twist, or “remix” it. I often find myself hyper-focused on deciphering each word I don’t understand/have never seen. I agree with the comment above, it was brave of you to take on this challenge! Iambic pentameter is a beast that’s hard to get right; I avoid it whenever I can. I liked your reflection, and I think it’s important to understand the time period when something was written. We often analyze authors and their pieces as if they were alive today. Misogyny most certainly existed back then, but the term probably didn’t. I’m sure he was just a product of his environment, trying to comment on a woman’s beauty. I’m not saying misogyny is good, but I don’t think that he was purposely being misogynistic. But I could be wrong! I’m no expert.

Leave a Reply