The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems

Roz Goddard

  
The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems is Roz Goddard’s fourth poetry collection and was launched at The Ledbury Poetry Festival 2010 and is published by Nine Arches Press. She is a former poet laureate for Birmingham, her work is permanently displayed in BMAG’s newest gallery. Her poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She runs writing workshops and courses, including for the Arvon Foundation and mentors individual writers. She is currently studying for an MPhil in writing at Glamorgan University. More details of her work can be found at her website.
 
 

 
Roz Goddard’s The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems (Nine Arches Press, 2010) is acutely observed, streetwise and bittersweet. At its heart are ten sonnet-portraits inspired by the television series about a dysfunctional mafia boss and his family. Among the cast of characters is Gloria, the hauntingly-seductive mistress with a built-in self-destruct button, and Leotardo, ready to murder at the drop of a letter …
 
 
“The doors between fact and fiction, dream and waking, different orders of reality, are left slyly and unsettlingly ajar in this collection which can slip straight from tender poems for relatives to an edgy intimacy with the TV mobsters of The Sopranos, a relationship as real as the ancient Greeks must have had with the dysfunctional family scenes on Mount Olympus.”
 
– Philip Gross
 
 
On Roz Goddard’s previous collection, Girls in the Dark:

“Fine work, I love the way you achieve naturalness of delivery while keeping the poems urgent and pressured. A lot of people try and don’t pull it off.”
 
– Don Paterson
 
 
 
*
 
 
 
from The Sopranos Sonnets
 
 
 
Christopher
 
Oh, Christopher, believe me, I’m with you;
it’s hard being ordinary, with a surfeit
of feeling that won’t elegantly form itself.
Inadequacy of thought, of sensibility
is a grave handicap in this writing life
we have chosen. Every day the same:
stumbling in the alleys looking for a gift
out of there, lost again in a dark city.
 
I understand why you chose killing –
it can be done like fixing up a shelf.
There was a tendency in you to stand
back and admire your deft handiwork.
Like the bodies were stories in long grass –
that first unbelievable paragraph.
 
 
 
Leotardo
 
At Ellis Island surnames were lost
with a slip of the pen, histories altered –
a letter lifted and replaced with a smirk.
No longer the noble Leonardo, too full
of itself, too ‘up’. You will now be associated
not with genius but with sweat and girl’s crotches.
Welcome to America.
 
Hate is a gun, a hard guarantee.
He is alert to sarcasm, mild jokes,
remembers himself as the barefoot boy
at the checkpoint. The trigger is a comma,
a comforting pause before blood and bone
finito the sarcasm – Jesus, that tone.
 
 
 
Corrado aka ‘Junior’
 
Don’t get old. Every day the sky is darker.
The world’s a busted chair from where you
receive worthless men you should have clipped
moons ago. They will ventilate your space
with nonsense and brave talk and won’t be waved
away, they’ll stay to treat you like a toothless dog.
You will catch them smirking when you intervene.
Stay the feared man or get out, don’t get old.
 
Beware the nephew who wears one shoe.
Here’s the thing – take him out early, your
brother’s son can never love you, send him
on a journey, with a one-way ticket.
So they cut you back hard? Act like a King,
wait in the twilight, strike, be unyielding.
 
 
 
from The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems
(Nine Arches Press, 2010)
 
Order The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems.
 
Visit Roz’s website.

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