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The Reality Street Book of Sonnets [Paperback]

Jeff Hilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Price: 14.93 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Reality Street Editions (30 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1874400393
  • ISBN-13: 978-1874400394
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 232,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


With no fewer than 84 contributors, this is a truly groundbreaking anthology. There are plenty of modern sonnet anthologies around; but none that have delved so thoroughly into the myriad ways poets have stretched, deconstructed and re-composed the venerable form, including visual and concrete sonnets. We take as our time frame 1945 to the 21st century, with poets ranging from Edwin Denby (born - 1903) to those currently in their twenties. Jeff Hilson, the editor, contributes an introductory essay.It's contributors include: Robert Adamson, Jeremy Adler, Tim Atkins, Ted Berrigan, Jen Bervin, Rachel Blau duPlessis, Christian Bok, Sean Bonney, Ebbe Borregaard, Jonathan Brannen, Pam Brown, Laynie Browne, Thomas A Clark, Adrian Clarke, John Clarke, Bob Cobbing, Clark Coolidge, Kelvin Corcoran, Beverly Dahlen, Ian Davidson, Edwin Denby, Laurie Duggan, Paul Dutton, Ken Edwards, Michael Farrell, Allen Fisher, Kathleen Fraser, William Fuller, John Gibbens, Harry Gilonis, Giles Goodland, Bill Griffiths, Alan Halsey, Robert Hampson, Jeff Hilson, Anselm Hollo, Lyn Hejinian, Piers Hugill, Peter Jaeger, Elizabeth James, Lisa Jarnot, Keith Jebb, Justin Katko, John Kinsella, Philip Kuhn, Michelle Leggott, Tony Lopez, Chris McCabe, Steve McCaffery, Jackson Mac Low, Richard Makin, Peter Manson, Brian Marley, Bernadette Mayer, Jay Millar, David Miller, and Peter Minter.

It's contributors also include: Geraldine Monk, Harryette Mullen, Philip Nikolayev, Alice Notley, Abigail Oborne, Ron Padgett, Bern Porter, Frances Presley, John A Scott, Tom Raworth, Peter Riley, Sophie Robinson, Stephen Rodefer, Maurice Scully, Gavin Selerie, Robert Sheppard, Aaron Shurin, Eleni Sikelianos, Simon Smith, Mary Ellen Solt, Juliana Spahr, Lawrence Upton, Carol Watts, Ian Wedde, John Welch, Johan de Wit, and Geoff Young.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading 6 Nov 2008
At last, here is a sonnet anthology that truly reflects the variety and depth of the form. It is a great place to start if you are interested in getting a feel for where the sonnet has been in recent times. It isn't cliquey or exclusionary like some anthologies and it avoids the mundane and predictable. What it is particularly exciting is its international scope: yes, American writers are well represented but so too is the rest of the English speaking world. Don't expect a manifesto or a diatribe, though. It lets the poems do the talking and the readers make up their own minds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have book 1 Aug 2008
For anyone even remotely interested in poetry, The Reality Street Book of Sonnets is a must-have book. Full of delights, it'll open your eyes to the vast possibilities of this unbelievably versatile verse form - at least in the hands/pens of the featured poets. I can't compare with other modern sonnet anthologies as I haven't read them but find it hard to believe they can be as rich as this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and original 6 July 2014
By anika
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very inspiring - a stunning collections of masterpieces
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must-buy for anyone interested in sonnets 8 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This product was recommended to me by my poetry Professor to help me with my Creative Writing course. And course he hyped it up a lot but, everything he said was true. It has a very good selection of sonnets from standard Shakespearean and Petrarchan formats to experimental formats. Also from a wide variety of poets ranging from Tao Qian in the 3rd century to the work of Sophie Robinson over the last 20 years or so. It is a must-buy for any poetry scholar or anyone who is interested in sonnets.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bumper Crop Bonanza 15 Sep 2008
By Kevin Killian - Published on Amazon.com
On the Poetics List the allegation was made that Jeff Hilson's book is too London-centric and that the talented poet publishes his friends at the expense of other British poetry circles. I always imagined that, if I were making an anthology, I would first off canvass all my friends and see if they had something suitable, and if they had written any sonnets, and I was Jeff, I'd be all like, "E-mail them to me as an attachment!" In fact every anthology I've worked on has operated this way. From California I can't tell if the REALITY STREET BOOK OF SONNETS has too many people from London but I can tell you this, it seems padded down with people associated with Reality Street press and books, and sometimes this work doesn't seem of the highest quality. But again if I were the publisher of the book, I would want to see my lowliest author represented as well as, whoever, Harryette Mullen or John Ashbery and people who get published all the time anyway.

No matter, it is a big, expansive collection bursting at the seams with a richness and variety that surprised cynical old me. A friend had told me this was an excellent book, but I rolled my eyes thinking, "Sonnets?!?" for I'm of the opinion that even Jack Spicer, my specialty, wrote too many sonnets and what are we going to do with all of them. Adjusting my vision, I reviewed my friend as he sat opposite me at the bar, his rep tie, his trim lapels, the part in his hair so cleanly chiseled and you know what, he did look like the sort of man who would enjoy roughly 2,000 sonnets, the number Hilson has included. Well I took a Kierkegaardian leap and wound up enjoying my time with this book immensely. Its handsome design ensures that there are never too many sonnets on any one page, while its chronological order (poets arranged by birth date) gives us a rough sense of the generations of sonneteers and how they think differently of themselves and their social practice. Are there many American writers here? Oh yes, he has done his spadework and flung the net far, including to my surprise the exquisite "Sketches for 13 Sonnets" written by the Black Mountain inflected poet Ebbe Borregaard (one of many poets who, in these conceptual times, has in fact abandoned poetry entirely in recent decades). In fact the book begins with a nod to the US, as Edwin Denby and Bern Porter, Jackson Mac Low and Mary Ellen Solt, Borregaard, John Clarke and Ted Berrigan make their presence known right away. There's a huge gap in time between the birth of Edwin Denby and the birthyear of the first UK poet included here (Tom Raworth), and the editorial apparatus never really explains why; the book thus seems bottom heavy, as it were, with positive rafts and shoals of talented London based poets all disinventing the sonnet wheel within what seems like months of each other. It's a terribly exciting time to be middle-aged or young in London and doing sonnets, and in the Americas one wonders what this book would look like had Jeff never read an issue of Chicago Review nor seen a catalogue from Coffee House Press, because otherwise the pickings are slim.

I'm having all my students read this book and look forward to a companion piece in which each of the poets, those still alive that is, explain why they consider their poems sonnets, for what's missing is a theorizing poetics which would account for the development of the dismantling process, as well as the reaffirmation of form embodies in such a volume, such a smart and luscious volume so ably edited by a practitioner with vision.
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