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Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets
Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets: A New Commentary | Don Paterson
24 posts | 1 reading | 4 to read
Shakespeare's Sonnets are as important and vital today as they were when first published four hundred years ago. Perhaps no collection of verse before or since has so captured the imagination of readers and lovers; certainly no poem has come under such intense critical scrutiny, and presented the reader with such a bewildering number of alternative interpretations. In this illuminating and often irreverent guide, Don Paterson offers a fresh and direct approach to the Sonnets, asking what they can still mean to the twenty-first century reader. In a series of fascinating and highly entertaining commentaries placed alongside the poems themselves, Don Paterson discusses the meaning, technique, hidden structure and feverish narrative of the Sonnets, as well as the difficulties they present for the modern reader. Most importantly, however, he looks at what they tell us about William Shakespeare the lover - and what they might still tell us about ourselves. Full of energetic analysis, plain-English translations and challenging mini-essays on the craft of poetry - not to mention some wild speculation - this approachable handbook to the Sonnets offers an indispensable insight into our greatest Elizabethan writer by one of the leading poets of our own day.
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charl08
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"Oh enough already..."

Since this pretty much sums up my feelings, I'm going to take a break from the #Shakespeare #sonnets for a bit.

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charl08
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Made it to sonnet 68.
This is beginning to feel like a marathon...

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charl08
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If you were to bet on something that would survive the ravages of time these days, would you choose verse?

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charl08
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I'm still (slowly) reading #Shakespeare (a sonnet a day). I like this one, but Patterson reckons it's just written for mathematical reasons (63 being a significant number of years for Elizabethans).

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charl08
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...a magnificent piece of verse on time's relentlessness...

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charl08
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"for me, the most beautiful opening lines of all the sonnets"

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charl08
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"Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend...'

Reading the sonnets continues. I like this one. (No 50)

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charl08
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'Sweet flattery' means something like 'Happy consoling delusion'.

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charl08
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A visit to Grasmere library. Lucky author.

Sonnet #36
Still quite some way to go!

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charl08
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".... I referred to this sonnet as a popular consensus, and this sonnet has often been placed among the very greatest. There really is no accounting for taste. It's fluff."

No, Mr Patterson, Nooooooooooooo?
I love this one.

TheSpineView ❤❤❤ 4mo
Nute This is one of my most favorite sonnets. Did he really call it fluff?😐 4mo
charl08 @Nute yeah, his standards are pretty high! 4mo
charl08 @TheSpineView me too. Love this one. 4mo
Nute Guess I‘ll have to read this book to get an understanding of his standards. I‘ve often used the word brilliant to describe Shakespeare‘s 29th Sonnet.😳 4mo
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charl08
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I love the lines...

Patterson's enthusiasm for reading Shakespeare's sonnets continues to carry me through his collection of short essays with the poems.

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charl08
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"...it's hard for any poet to get excited by a trope that's been trotted out by a hundred other poets. "

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charl08
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.... he's written a poem that, ....can make you physically feel like you're in love again. You remember? Love, in all its derangement, fatal hope, excessive caution, recklessness, sleeplessness, nausea, delirium, euphoria, terror, in all its strange superstitions and propitiations...

it all comes roaring back, and you feel, to quote C. K. Williams, 'the old heart stamping in its stall'.

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charl08
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Then happy I, that love and am beloved...

A poem in favour of family over fame?

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charl08

I think this is the sort of poem I have in mind when I talk about the ratio between investment and reward. Me - I'm overdrawn.
At some point, we simply have to conclude that something is badly expressed, or written in a form or style more complex than the idea it expresses, or written for very different fashions and tastes. Here, I suspect, we have all three.

Refreshing stuff. (Sonnet #24) #Shakespeare #Poetry

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charl08
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They draw but what they see..

I've made it to sonnet #24

From the commentary - Patterson quotes another critic - "...some sanity may be retained if one holds on to the idea of two people looking into one another's eyes..."

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charl08
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Still reading #Shakespeare sonnets with Don Paterson. The context stuff is fascinating (to me).

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charl08
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"Why might he reprint this stuff?"

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charl08
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...For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there...

Sonnet #5 proving apt given snow has given way to hail and then rain outside as I read.
#winter #poetry #Shakespeare

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charl08

Thy unused beauty must be tombed with thee...

More gloomy #sonnets from #Shakespeare
(4 down!)
Paterson advises on the difference between metonyny and metaphor. I think I'll leave these subtleties to him though.

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charl08

Sonnet #3

“But if thou live remember'd not to be, Die single....“

These “you really ought to get married and have kids“ sonnets are a barrel of laughs...

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charl08
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Day 2 of sonnets.

40 winters and we're a 'totter'd weed'?
Ouch. 😫

MommyWantsToReadHerBook 😂😂😂😂 I don't feel that way! That's so funny though 5mo
charl08 @MommyWantsToReadHerBook apparently Elizabethan forty year olds were doing well just to be still walking around...😱 5mo
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charl08
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I'm going to read one a day (and the commentary). Here goes #1

#2022Challenge #NewYear #Poetry #DonPaterson

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charl08
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....a classic is a book you can safely avoid reading, because no one else will admit they haven't read it either. Don't get me wrong: everyone said they loved the Sonnets. They just tended to love the same ten poems....Was this because there are only ten good poems? Were those ten really the best ten? What about the other hundred and forty-four? ... do the Sonnets really contain what we believe them to contain? Do they still move us...?

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