Day 27: Harvard review

Today was a good day for a sonnet. I wrote it upon the discovery of a familiar name and it’s as if nobody could read it but me.

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D

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Prompt 27: “Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the form of a review. But not a review of a book or a movie of a restaurant. Instead, I challenge you to write a poetic review of something that isn’t normally reviewed.”

My poem, which is a sonnet, is the direct result of the poetry resource that is kindly attached to the prompt each day. Today it was the collection of signatures by lecturers of The Morris Gray Lecture Series hosted by Harvard University.

I noticed that several signatures remain unidentified and thought “This cannot be” and wrote a bad review of this collection in the form of a (Petrarchan-style) sonnet. Seeing that I identified one of them.

As it happens, last year I also wrote a sonnet on this day but that one was Shakespearean, seeing that we had to write a poem with words borrowed from his sonnets. I like the title of my post: The day pears got shaken.

This one is for another poet that I already massacred and called it a tribute to a previous prompt this year when we had to write about our poetic inspiration. His name is Tomaž Šalamun.

If I can do it

Is Harvard not what once it was? I wonder,
perusing this strange book that lies before me
with question-marks where there should clearly not be,
and unknown signatures. What gives? I ponder.

They took a goat’s skin for this ledger – sorry –
dyed it to match with blended scratches under,
retained the spine, rebacked it, and not squander
with missing names some of old Harvard’s glory?

I know it ‘fore I’m done: One name – I’ll know it.
It’s then that I spot Charles Simic fondly,
friend and translator of my favourite poet.

And lo! Penult’mate page! Lest they have conned me…
It is! I spot an “Š”. Make it a sonnet,
says Šalamun. I grin and write it promptly.


Here is just a little proof, the penultimate page 23 with the signature and missing name from the Harvard ledger, and his autograph found online:


In photos, a summer day in Piran two years ago when I did what I rarely do: shop. I bought two items and took many more photos than two, and now I realise that I usually take photos instead of shopping. It suffices.

For Day 27 of NaPoWriMo 2020

8 thoughts on “Day 27: Harvard review

  1. What a serendipitous discovery, Manja–I’m so excited for you!👏🎉🎈 And kudos on the sonnet–it’s lovely.💜It’s so nice to come to your blog and lose myself in your beautiful pictures for a while–love the one of the lucky dog and the view through the opened door.

    Liked by 1 person

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