6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A major literary achievement,
This review is from: Sounding the Seasons: Poetry for the Christian Year (Paperback)
This sonnet sequence is a major literary achievement - it is powerful on every level, from the individual sonnets (which are marvelous) to the arc of the whole sequence, in which the seventy sonnets are part of one deeply moving whole.
Each of the seventy individual sonnets shows Guite's tremendous gifts as a poet: clear, fresh language and vivid images that carry, on re-reading, more and more levels of meaning. These are poems that are delightful on the first read and get better on every re-reading. Part of Guite's gift is his ability to write with total honesty about pain and sorrow (the "Stations of the Cross" sequence is worth the price of the book by itself) in such a way as to go through, not around, the darkness. Because of this honesty, Guite's sonnets that express themes of hope and joy are authentic and moving. There isn't a false word or shallow sentiment anywhere to be found here.
The achievement of the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. These poems originally appeared in draft form on Malcolm Guite's blog; in Sounding the Seasons, they have been re-arranged, selected, and in many cases substantially revised to create a powerful sequence as a whole. The structure and sequencing of Sounding the Seasons amplifies and deepens the effect of each individual sonnet, as it is read in context with the others.
The book also contains an interesting introductory essay by Guite in which he discusses the literary forerunners of the sonnet sequence, and discusses his aims in writing poetry that is both richly meaningful and accessible to the ordinary reader, as well as various useful appendices such as an index of Scriptural references.
Sounding the Seasons is, in short, not to be missed.
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