Spent the weekend catching up on the sonnet for a couple of reasons but mostly because I enjoy the form and want to write more of them.
So what was I reading? Glad you asked! Here goes:
â€¢ The Sonnet: A Comprehensive Anthology of British and American Sonnets from the Renaissance to the Present, Edited by Robert M. Bender and Charles L. Squier
I picked this up years ago at Stand for like two bucks and I keep coming back to it when I need a good sonnet pick up. I have yet to read the whole thing since Ole Englishe gives me a headache but I do appreciate how the editors dug deep into British history. And what a bunch of haters those Brits were. A couple of the sonnets I read feel like the illegitimate love child of “pistols at dawn” and a “front stoop snaps session.”
But the sonnet that truly befuddled me was John Frederick Nims’ “Agamemnon Before Troy.” Part Homer, part Pecos Bill, part Spencer, and all good literary fun.
â€¢ Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes by Francisco X. Alarcon with English translations by Francisco AragÃ³n
A good read with the section that looks at language and word as my favorite part. Alarcon’s work cuts right to the point but does so with a slow blade as opposed to a quick thrust which does justice to the sonnet form.
â€¢ Song of the Simple Truth The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos, Introduction and translations by Jack AgÃ¼eros
I’ve been making my way through this dense volume but by bit but skipped through to check out some of DeBurgos’ forays into sonnet. The two sonnets I came across are political odes to Jose MartÃ and Perdo Albizu Campos which push the sonnet as not just personal plea but as a voice in the arena of human awareness and rights.
â€¢ Sonnets from the Puerto Rican by Jack AgÃ¼eros
My favorite book of sonnets as Jack adds a Nuyorican flair to the form. You’ll find it all in here: love sonnets, persona sonnets, political sonnets, spanish sonnets, even sonnets with double the lines. You will also find a poet in full command of his language anchoring his sonnets in personal place and individual tradition.