Barbara Lydecker Crane


“Sonnet Insurance”

—a billboard in Toronto

Dear Sonnet staff: I’m eager for your plan!
I’ll want an underwriter old-school-based,
Petrarchan or P. Larkin in his taste—
he’ll speak my terms. I’ll benefit from your man
adjusting rhymes, making meter strict,
assuming the risk of an errant anapest.
Or does your firm ensure I’ll stand time’s test,
pull strings to have my every effort picked
by a premier publication? One quick draft
in the condition of a pre-existing sonnet,
and the English-speaking world would dote upon it.
But I admit my first attempts aren’t craft.
If instant fame’s your game, please shelve this letter.
Insure me later, when I write it better.

Barbara Lydecker Crane has published three chapbooks, Zero Gravitas (White Violet Press, 2012), ALPHABETRICKS (for children, Daffydowndilly Press, 2013), and BackWords Logic (Local Gems Press, 2017). She has won the Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest and the Humor Award and two Laureate’s Choice Awards in the Maria Faust Sonnet Contest, and was a finalist for the Rattle Readers’ Choice Award. Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Atlanta Review, First Things, Light, Measure, and Think Journal, among many others, and in several anthologies. Also an artist, she lives with her husband in the Boston area.