About a year and a half ago, a friend of mine who I don’t see very much any more asked me to write a poem about one of King Arthur’s knights. Some of you may remember it; it was called Percival, and it was reasonably well-received.
It was successful enough that I wound up writing Gawain and the Green Knight as well, though I never performed it, and also Tristam and Iseult, though again, I never performed them, except maybe once. They’re each quite long, around 10-12 minutes apiece, at least, but when you’re telling Arthurian legends, it’s not like you can squeeze it into three minutes anyways. They’re also watery, by Aristotle’s definition, given that the rhyme scheme (sonnets, naturally) demands some additional material be inserted which is not strictly necessary.
In any case, I wrote a framework of fifteen theoretical poems in which these three complete poems would fit, and did a great deal of organization work for them, and promptly forgot all about them. I found them again back in December while organizing and printing most of my collection of poetry into a performance workbook, and decided this would be part of my poetic practice for 2006 — I would finish the Arthurian cycle, at least in rough draft, with an eye to performing it sometime in the summer of 2007.
Today I finished Canto I: The Sword in the Stone. My goal is to finish one canto a month, on top of all my other calendrical intentions. I should be finished sometime around Christmas. Look for periodic updates here, and if you don’t see anything, remind me that I’m working on it, please.