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Sonnets for the Spanish Paperback – March 26, 2008
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Traditionally, sonnets have often been used as they are used here, as a vehicle of admiration by a male poet for an inaccessible female. Mr. Klapper's writing is completely standard fare in this regard -- the passionate shepherd to his coy mistress, and all that. It is evident to the reader that the writer and his Muse/flame are friends to some extent, and that any further relationship is unlikely. Thence the tension of the poems, and again, quite traditionally so.
I'd say that they are as dramatic as Shakespeare, as modern as (fill in names here, as I don't read many modern poets), and less religious than Elizabeth Barrett Browning's work.
Klapper's reverence for his subject also may call to mind sonnets by Sir Philip Sidney or even Edmund Spenser -- both masters of the romantic sonnet. It's been a popular form in English since it migrated over from Petrarch's Italian original ("Petrarca" as Wikipedia informs us, was not the first sonneteer, but he is probably the one responsible for the form's initial longevity).
Returning to the poems at hand, the words themselves have a romantic formality, but the subjects, from the poet's concern and care for his Muse's injured ankle, to glimpses of conversations, dismay and laughter, are entirely visceral.
My favorites from this series include No2. 22 "Darkness," 25 "Mercy," 39 "Healing" (a signature piece), and 43 "Count," with its fun ending, "Love unconstrained by algebraic thought / With transcendental fervor have I sought."
That said, these poems don't entirely appeal to me personally. I can't argue that the poet does not reach his goal, because Mr. Klapper has been writing for longer than I have, and he knows what he is setting out to accomplish. Perhaps I would like them better if I heard them read, rather than read them on my own; because it is something of the cadence as well as the personal nature of the work that gives me difficulty. Perhaps it is the level of tension that gives me pause; there is no closure in this book, so I cannot relax. Other readers, wanting a living story, may well prefer it this way. I never had much patience with the genre of poems-by-frustrated-male-would-be-lover, I suppose.
Thanks for reading. Hope this helped.