Eventually, a couple of years later, a line came to Joseph: "His credit cards were in a plastic case." From there, "I noticed that it was a ten-syllable line," and "I thought, thirteen more lines to go."
Joseph turned that one line into a sonnet and then wrote several more sonnets about her father's death. In the past, Joseph had often written in free verse, so writing a sonnet sequence was a notable shift:
I just didn’t see before how those particular shapes—-because that’s what they are if you think about them—-how they were relevant for me. But it was ultimately a freeing discovery, just learning, okay, if I can get this fourteen-line box and pack it with all my grief and all the things I think I can’t handle, I can go on to writing another fourteen-line box.Joseph ended up publishing her sonnets from that sequence "First Birthday After Your Death: November 1998," "In the Funeral Parlour," "Before the Burial" in The Formalist. Those poems and the larger sequence of thirty-four sonnets now appear in her volume my father's kites: poems (2010), a book which I think offers important ways for thinking about the poet's expansive creativity.
Body Perception in A. Joseph's poem "Skinny Legs"
10 poems (online) by Allison Joseph
Allison Joseph and Creativity
Allison Joseph's Imitation of Life
Allison Joseph's Worldly Pleasures
Allison Joseph's Voice: Poems
Looking for Allison Joseph