- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 Mar. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571278736
- ISBN-13: 978-0571278732
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
101 Sonnets Paperback – 1 Mar 2012
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101 Sonnets is a collection of classic sonnets introduced by Don Paterson, one of Britain's foremost contemporary poets.
About the Author
Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. He is the author of Nil Nil (1993), God's Gift to Women (1997) - winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize - and Landing Light (2003), which won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. Rain, his most recent collection, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2009, the same year that he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Find out more about Don Paterson at www.donpaterson.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
That's how Don Paterson concludes his crash course on the sonnet which forms the introduction to this little jewel box of a book. Master of the aphorism, he carries his elegantly succinct style into the notes on each one, deftly throwing open even the least inviting and initially inaccessible poems of the collection.
There are many classics here, from all the undisputed experts. Even Shakespeare is allowed only one entry though, leaving plenty of room for newer and less familiar writers. But why do the editors of these collections never feel able to slip in one of their own works? An acclaimed sonneteer himself, Don Paterson is ideal as editor but surely he should qualify as one of the 101 too?
You don't need to know one end of a sonnet from another to get a lot out of this collection. If he'd called it 101 poems with rather a pleasing shape, which each takes up about two thirds of a small page, and most of which will kick you in the stomach, I'd still have carried the book around for weeks, and would still be reaching for it when heading for the bus stop. I'm not sure it's made my life easier to bear, but it's certainly made an English February easier to endure.
The thing with poetry is that you cannot get enough, once hooked. There are the usual suspects: Wordsworth's The world is too much with us, John Donne's Batter my heart three-personed God, William Blake's To the evening star, and Carol Ann Duffy's Prayer along with Simon Armitage's Poem, and W B Yeats' Leda and the Swan. Here is one I hadn't come across before and especially loved, by Robert Hayden: Those Winter Sundays
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labour in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house.
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?
So if you want examples of some pretty damn stunning sonnets which may not be in your existing poetry collections - read her review for a couple of tasty samples.
The foreword to this collection is vivid and muscular, the least dry explanation of the evolution of the sonnet out there. Paterson's own visceral response to poetry is palpable and infectious.
The sonnets are ordered not by alphabetical author progressions, or by date; instead there is almost the sense of each sonnet, leading onto the next as part of a larger ordering of themes, so that the subject matters of the poems slowly progress - sonnets devoted to sexual love and praise of the beloved, sonnets which are almost physically sensuous in their devotion to praising the divine (nice juxtapositions of sonnets lingeringly describing kissing the beloved, to the first poem in 'the divine' series, a sonnet by Wilfred Owen describing kissing the Cross. And on.
This very subtle, personal but unexplained, un spelt out (by Paterson) ordering of the sonnets is itself a delight and revelation, so that one can have a very modern sonnet cheek by jowl with one of the very well known ones, and the progression of subject and neighbouring sonnets slightly change the way one reads the familiar sonnet - it becomes 'as though for the first time' once more
As another reviewer also notes, the 5 or 6 line notes on each sonnet right at the end of the book are excellent and illuminating - but utterly unobtrusive.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I’m not any kind of big poetry aficionado but I really enjoyed this collection of sonnets, selected and introduced by Don Paterson. Read morePublished 11 months ago by J. Llewellyn
needed it for my course at university. I need to find the time to study the sonnets. Not keen on cover. Seems a bit cheap looking and feel..Published on 23 Jan. 2014 by Shirley Asquith
As well as a wonderful variety of sonnets, this anthology includes Don Paterson's excellent introduction to the form, and his notes on each poem.Published on 21 Feb. 2013 by karen59
Poetry has been to me somewhat of a closed art form, as I have always felt I didn't really "get" poems. Read morePublished on 9 April 2012 by Jenniconn
I bought this for two reasons!
Firstly - I am enjoying Don's Shakespeare Sonnets Book immensely. It is just BRILLIANT. Read more