From “The Sonnagrams”

By K. Silem Mohammad
on thoth’s tits
From Sonnet 75 (“So are you to my thoughts as food to life”)

A groovy day, a fish fillet, an elf hair,
A cosmonaut, a microdot, a hoedown,
A trusty door, the finest whore on welfare,
A neocon who’s keeping on the lowdown,

A purple fist, a Federalist, a sunspot,
A bird that’s got a big big butt to study,
A guy named Toots, ten dumb galoots, a gunshot,
Die Fledermaus by good ol’ Strauss (my buddy),

A grinning troll, a real a-hole, a smiler,
A dude who knows a gushing hose is funny,
An underdressed (no tie, no vest) John Tyler,
A sexy flirt, a cowboy shirt — oh honey!

I’ll flip you for a dinosaur, my sweeties,
When Uncle Pete lets Usher eat our Wheaties.

uh huh: hi, hula tooth
From Sonnet 135 (“Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will”)

Will refried catnip addicts find a cure?
Will daytime televangelists go broke?
Will Algorithmic Horses go on tour?
Will nineteen shekels buy one thin, thin Coke?

Will innovative inverts be reported?
Will weasel-human hybrids rent a maid?
Will hesitating oxen get aborted?
Will analysts of real estate get laid?

Will hoochie-coochie nuns remove their mink?
Will enemies of hotness shut it down?
Will tame aphasic mynahs learn to think?
Will Hi-Ho hunt the hound in Ho-Ho town?

Will Willy Loman eat a thousand ants?
Will Willa Cather do that nasty dance?

NOTES: My process for composing sonnagrams is as follows: I feed one of Shakespeare’s sonnets into an internet anagram engine, generating fourteen lines of text that is quantitatively equivalent to Shakespeare’s poem at the level of the letter. I then rearrange this text, clicking and dragging letter by letter until I have a new English sonnet. All leftover letters are used to make up a title.

Source: Poetry (February 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2014
 K. Silem Mohammad


K. Silem Mohammad is the author of several books of poetry, including Deer Head Nation (2003), A Thousand Devils (2004) Breathalyzer (2008), and The Front (2009). In The Sonnagrams (2009), Mohammad anagrammatizes Shakespeare’s sonnets into all-new English sonnets in iambic pentameter. He is also editor of the poetry magazine Abraham Lincoln and faculty editor of West Wind Review. He teaches English and Writing at Southern Oregon . . .

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Poems by K. Silem Mohammad

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets


Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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