“The Desert of My Love”

“The Desert of My Love” by Shloka Shankar was created from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850). Please click here to read.

About the poem and the process of composing it, Shloka writes:

I enjoy found poetry since it opens up opportunities for playing with language and experimenting with various techniques. One such pet process of mine is the cut-up or remixing, where I freely excerpt phrases and words to form a new whole. For “The Desert of My Love,” I was excited to try out an interesting prompt I came across in the Poets & Writers weekly newsletter. The prompt suggested “translating” a sonnet into a pantoum, and when I saw that sonnets were listed as possible source texts in Heron Tree’s guidelines for this volume, I knew I had to give it a go. While I could have taken the cento approach by opting to use the first full lines of each of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese, I gave myself a constraint and composed this poem from only the words found in the index of first lines. I mixed and matched within the limited word bank and paid attention to context and repetition, as is common with the pantoum form.