This box sits upright on small knobbed feet. It has a hinged door which features a glass-framed color illustration of a biblical-era scene with a square window showing a black-and-white photo of two men confronting one another. The inside of this door cover is an etched illustration of a cross-section of men digging a small mine. At the bottom is a caption of text from a comic book. Inside the box is a centerpiece of a glass shelf that rests upon two panels collaged with color drawings illustrating cell division. These panels are at angles like an open book. Atop the shelf are three evenly spaced glass vials containing color illustrations of flowers. The vials are stuffed with cotton, each with a small yellow stick extending from it. The centerpiece rests upon a color illustration of a hippopotamus. The side panels are color illustrations of mountain landscapes with a helicopter in the sky in one panel and a hot air balloon in the other. The top panel is a page from a fictional account of a sea voyage. The inside back of the box is an illustration from a Renaissance painting of two cherubs. This picture lies underneath yellow tinted glass.
In my sonnet pieces, I’ve taken the strict structure of this form of poetry and applied it to the pairings and associations within the box. In a sonnet, there are fourteen lines, and in my assemblage, there are fourteen elements—panels and objects. These elements are paired off by their similarity and placement. In the case of this sonnet box, for instance, the side panels of the color illustration are from the same source and subject matter. I consider these to be a rhyming pair. And the three vials in a row represent lines ten, eleven, and twelve of the sonnet, a rhymed triplet. Knowing the line structure of a sonnet, you will be able to parse out the structure of this boxed assemblage.