On “Sestina in Seattle” (#41)

“Sestina in Seattle” began as a challenge from Martin to John, to write the first stanza, six lines, of a sestina based in and around Seattle. Martin provided his own sestina “Lunacy and Light” as a model. For mysterious reasons, while “Sestina in Seattle” was the fifth poem begun (and the poets’ first foray into formal verse), it was the fourth poem finished, a couple of weeks before “Scum Sifter in St. Louis.”

“Sestina in Seattle” offers a wild ride through and around the biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, touching on logging, rain, heroin, the Mariners, grunge, salmon, Microsoft, and, of course, the future extraplanetary expansion of the Starbucks empire.

“Sestina in Seattle” first appeared in Compass Rose Number 10 (May 2010). It is the forty-first poem in the final sequence of Poets’ Guide to America.


About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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