[How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame]


stone, loam, steed, smoke—theyoval thud—hew / haw—
nail gnaw—fern herhair / heart this cock reek—
hot boy (taunt bud, edge)—a fetish: pond myth,
hound’s eye, titstitch—hone swoon (asswelts)—
they ghosted (that fatty tonal result)—shy to
piss—mythic moss ring—one oval tuck—to man:
to disunion—panties’ fabric (a pinker sad)—
neon limbrhyme—all sass / penetrating
octave—thigh heaviness—sow oat / moan
(oh hoochbitter / ouchsweet)—if thin, eat hair,
boot’s lovely curve—herb (the weed variety)—
tense, tin laugh—fantasy: leather, cord, satin—
half liver / heart—tie hare—dig edge—pokes tear
(odd delight)—silhouettes—knead flesh here.

A Note on the Construction of the Text

These poems, what I call “divinations,” were created with the assistance of an online anagramming tool and the source text of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. The first line of the corresponding Shakespearean sonnet is borrowed as the title for each divination. The rule I set was to anagram line-by-line, so each line of the divination has all of the same letters as the corresponding line in the Shakespearean sonnet. After entering a line from Shakespeare into the anagrammer, I’d be presented with a group of words, a lexical pool, and would then select words I was interested in or that held heat or resonance with my themes. After selecting a word, the anagramming tool would refresh and present a new list of available words. I’d continue this way editing and shaping the line until I’d used all the letters.

Trevor Ketner is the author of The Wild Hunt Divinations: A Grimoire (Wesleyan University Press, 2023) and [WHITE] (UGA Press, 2021) selected as a winner of the National Poetry Series by Forrest Gander. They have been published in The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Brooklyn Rail, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Changes, Diagram, Foglifter, and elsewhere. They have received fellowships from Lambda Literary, Poets House, and The Poetry Project. They hold an MFA from the University of Minnesota.