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The Art of the Sonnet Paperback – October 15, 2011
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“Burt and Mikics have a ravishing breadth of taste and understanding. Their capaciousness allows the sonnet greater variety than its enemies (who think it old-fashioned, retrograde, and reactionary) would allow. A literary tour de force.”―Willard Spiegelman, author of Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness
“Burt and Mikics have gathered together and composed a marvelous book. Both of them give us profound commentaries on particular sonnets and on the genre. I know of no other recent book that so steadily illuminates the riches it invokes.”―Harold Bloom
“Burt and Mikics have written an illuminating text that promises many hours of reading pleasure and greater understanding of this poetic form.”―Susan L. Peters, Library Journal
“Learned as well as passionate, this book is a delight.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Stephen Burt and David Mikics give us a carefully selected set of 100 sonnets, spanning 1557 to 2009, each with a compact companion essay. Their aim is to present "a partial history of the sonnet form." But that puts it too modestly. With their selection of poems and their (mostly) compelling essays, Burt and Mikics manage to give a vivid sense of the sonnet in English as a living, organic thing, interconnected and evolving through time...It's the essays that really distinguish this volume...Many of these essays are models of how to write about a poem, especially one centuries old. If you like to get under the hood of a poem and poke around at its inner mechanics, to see what makes it go, then the more technical parts of these essays won't disappoint. But they're not just technical: They strike an appealing balance of historical, biographical, and textual analysis, while remaining, for the most part, accessible.”―Wen Stephenson, Boston Globe
“Newcomers to poetry and longtime readers alike will find this a rich and rewarding volume.”―Lauren Winner, Books & Culture
“[A] handsome collection of 100 sonnets...It is to the credit of the compilers of this fine anthology that they manage to mount persuasive (and mercifully jargon-free) arguments that even poems as idiosyncratic as [Les Murray's] "Strangler Fig" reflect the venerable and seemingly inexhaustible traditions of the sonnet.”―Andrew Riemer, Sydney Morning Herald
“The editors...[have] collected one hundred enjoyable sonnets reaching back to Thomas Wyatt and George Gascoigne, and meanwhile, providing a thorough introduction and thoroughly astute commentary on each sonnet. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate this as a reader.”―Jeannie Vanasco, openlettersmonthly.com
“Burt and Mikics write two or three pages about each of [the] poems, and mostly these are clear and patient guides to rhythm and form, allusions, their relations to the lives of their authors...They say just the right thing to make their readers turn back to the poems.”―Colin Burrow, London Review of Books
“This is a volume of poetry and criticism that a nonspecialist could read front to back with real pleasure.”―G. W. Clift, Choice
About the Author
Stephanie Burt is Professor of English at Harvard University.