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Sixty Sonnets Paperback – February 15, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Ernest Hilbert’s sure-footed poems have the breathless urgency of a man telling others the way out of a burning building. Unafraid to startle, often winning out over recalcitrant material, they score astonishing successes. A bold explorer with few rivals, Hilbert enlarges the territory of traditional form. Sixty Sonnets may be the most arresting sequence we have had since John Berryman checked out of America.

– X.J. Kennedy, author of Lords of Misrule and editor of Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama



Hilbert has an appetite for life equal to his taste in literature: a rare combination in an age of dissociated sensibility. In these sonnets, whose dark harmonies and omnivorous intellect remind the reader of Robert Lowell’s, Hilbert is alternately fugitive and connoisseur, hard drinker and high thinker. But he is always a true poet, proud to belong to the company of those who still feel “The last, noble pull of old ways restored, / Valued and unwanted, admired and ignored.”

– Adam Kirsch, author of The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets



Just as the work of the modernists showed that the best free verse usually has something masterfully formal about it, Hilbert’s fine collection might serve to remind us that the best formal poetry has about it a marvelous colloquial freshness and inventiveness, and the ring of an actual human voice. It is a touching and intelligent book.

– Franz Wright, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry

About the Author

Ernest Hilbert is the editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review. He was educated at Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly. He later became the poetry editor for Random House’s magazine Bold Type in New York City and edited the magazine nowCulture. He is an antiquarian book dealer in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife, an archaeologist.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1 edition (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597093610
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597093613
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,943,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Thomas Hutt on April 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
As an art form, writing distinguishes itself by not requiring the artist to possess any kind of physical prowess. No painting of lines, no plucking of strings, no balancing of oneself upon one's toes is necessary to be an author. Only a command of language is needed and therein lies a trap. Writers--and in particular, poets--can get lost inside their own heads. They may be people of great erudition and vocabulary, and they may impress us with their clever wordplay, but they aren't necessarily good artists. Thus did I approach Ernest Hilbert's Sixty Sonnets with some trepidation. Hilbert holds a doctorate from Oxford, has edited of some high-brow publications, and currently traffics in rare books to make a living. I feared having to slog through the ponderous and obscure musings of some overeducated windbag.

Happily, I was dead wrong. This debut collection has many virtues, not the least of which is its celebration of the physical, visceral, frightening world of human beings. Read Sixty Sonnets and you will find yourself inside noisy bars, boring parties, emergency rooms, and even at the bottom of a river. Along the way you will meet pathetic drunks, lonely academics, cynical ex-lovers, and barbers that time forgot. And, of course, you will bump into the poet himself. He will usually be the one with something interesting to add, perhaps a thoughtful reflection ("we blank out one future each time we decide"), or a crisp observation ("wind rearranges sunlight through the pines"), or a poignant lament ("the mornings that remain seem too few"). Whatever the poet has to say, he says it well, sometimes with foul-mouthed directness, sometimes with humor, but always with sincerity.
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Format: Paperback
The format of the sonnet has enticed as many poets as the sonnets themselves entice their readers. "Sixty Sonnets" is literally a collection of sixty sonnets from Ernest Hilbert as he runs with the format and does new and entertaining things with them. For lovers of the sonnet, "Sixty Sonnets" is not an anthology to ignore. "Domestic Situation": Maybe you've heard about this. Maybe not./A man came home and chucked his girlfriend's cat/In the wood chipper. This really happened./Dinner wasn't ready on time. A lot/Of the other little things went wrong. He spat/On her father who came out when he learned/About it. He also broke her pinky,/Stole her checks, and got her sister pregnant./But she stood by him, stood strong, through it all,/Because she loved him. She loved him, you see./She actually said that, and then she went/And married him. She felt some unique call./Don't try to understand what another/Person means by love. Don't even bother.
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By ebaygirl on November 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
The best poetry of our generation.
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I have never been a big poetry fan, but Hilbert's "Sixty Sonnets" has made me a fan. Hilbert's work is easy to relate to and a good read. I encourage everyone to give him a read,
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