Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Been reading the Reality Street Book of Sonnets, edited by Jeff Hilson recently. I'm inclined to actually agree with Ron Silliman that it's one of the best and most significant anthologies produced in the last 25 years. It's full of so many different versions of the sonnet (and some things that aren't even sonnets) that it makes me gasp at times at the possibilities of the form. Everything from the concrete poetry of Mary Ellen Solt to variations on Berrigan's sonnets to the recent uses of the sonnet "box" by Abigail Obourne and Sophie Robinson.

There's a great deal of humour in this collection, and the sonnet is variously stretched, squashed and bent out of shape, though most people stick to at least one of the rules, even if it's only the 14 line rule, or the volta, or that peculiar out-of-balance octet/sestet division that makes it still so fascinating. There are poems and poets I don't get on with yet, but that's true of any anthology. A lovely Christmas present for the post avant poet and linguistically innovative chaps and chapesses out there.

Speaking of presents, I have recently reached the grand old age of 50. Time to lift my old willow wand to the crowd to acknowledge the applause of the crowd at reaching my first fifty. And I bet you never expected a cricket reference from me, did you?

1 comment:

Charles Carver said...

Congrats on a good knock. What next, bent over at short leg, waiting for a tickle?