- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press (October 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674061802
- ISBN-13: 978-0674061804
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of the Sonnet Paperback – September 6, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The sonnet may well be the poetic form that most often comes to mind when anyone thinks of poetry. Fourteen lines long, in open and closed structures, sonnets have been prominent over the past 400 years of poetic history. In this unusual book—half anthology, half collection of essays—Burt and Mikics, both prolific critics of poetry (Burt is also a poet himself) choose 100 sonnets and for each offer a thoughtful, scholarly, though highly accessible commentary. The oldest poem is Thomas Wyatt's Whoso List to Hunt (1557), and the newest is by the contemporary poet D.A. Powell, first published last year. In between, there's everything from Shakespeare and Wordsworth to Robert Lowell and Lucie Brock-Broido. Of Redemption, George Herbert's sonnet about the Resurrection of Christ, Mikics writes, Herbert's Savior... shocks us into attention. Of one of Ted Berrigan's sonnets, Burt says, The disorientation, the wildness, is part of the point: no more organized poem would do. While this anthology would make a wonderful textbook for a prosody class, its best audience may be anyone who wants to delve deeply into the heart of poetry. Learnéd as well as passionate, this book is a delight. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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 2010-04-01)
Learned as well as passionate, this book is a delight. (Publishers Weekly (starred review) 2010-04-19)
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 2010-05-02)
Newcomers to poetry and longtime readers alike will find this a rich and rewarding volume. (Lauren Winner Books & Culture 2010-05-05)
[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 2010-05-08)
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 2010-06-01)
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 2010-06-24)
This is a volume of poetry and criticism that a nonspecialist could read front to back with real pleasure. (G. W. Clift Choice 2010-11-01)
Innovative and intelligent...All poetry can be seen as a conversation between poets over time. In The Art of the Sonnet, the little room of the sonnet serves as an echo chamber and amplifier, allowing us to hear those voices--great and small, living and dead--more clearly than ever. (Adam Kirsch Harvard Magazine 2010-07-01)
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