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101 Sonnets - Don Paterson
101 Sonnets
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The sonnet is, along with the limerick, the most widely known poetic form and whereas the limerick is used almost exclusively for humourous--if not downright ribald--ends (though Tennyson supposedly wrote a melancholy example), the sonnet is an altogether nobler structure, with Shakespeare's... show more
The sonnet is, along with the limerick, the most widely known poetic form and whereas the limerick is used almost exclusively for humourous--if not downright ribald--ends (though Tennyson supposedly wrote a melancholy example), the sonnet is an altogether nobler structure, with Shakespeare's sonnet sequence being the most virtuoso expression of its poetic possibilities. As Don Paterson, himself an accomplished poet and sonneteer, observes in his introduction, the sonnet's rules of construction are both strict and easily broken, but its 14 lines and patterning of rhythm and rhyme outline a form of great versatility, capable of encompassing complex perception, wit and amourous rumination: Dante Gabriel Rossetti's claim that "A Sonnet is a moment's monument,-- / Memorial from the Soul's eternity" is evidence of the loftier aspirations of the form, while Sean O'Brien's line "What better excuse to go out and get pissed?" exemplifies the sonnet's more profane pleasures. This collection demonstrates the sonnet's enduring appeal to poets from the 16th century to the present-day--from Wyatt, Shakespeare and Milton, to Armitage, Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy. Paterson cleverly opts for a non-chronological approach--his innovative juxtaposition makes fresh even familiar examples, and his brief notes on each poem's technique and treatment of subject are illuminating, laconic and often irreverent. If the tone of these annotations veers occasionally towards the bluff and overly matey, it is perhaps an indication of Paterson's confidence in the form hitched to the sensibility of a seasoned craftsman--the introduction likewise shifts from the pragmatic and informative to the speculatively baroque--but the end result is a collection of many pleasures and surprises and a bold reassertion of the continuing tradition of formal poetry. --Burhan Tufail
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Format: paperback
ISBN: 9780571278732 (0571278736)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Edition language: English
Category:
Poetry
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