Reading Shakespeare's Sonnets, By Don Paterson

A hip approach to the Bard's short stuff

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The Independent Culture

If you don't know Shakespeare's sonnets this would be a marvellous introduction; and if you do know them, it will enrich your knowledge and enjoyment considerably.

Every sonnet gets a long, erudite, but hip, cool and witty commentary.

Don Paterson's judgements seem to me spot-on. He is refreshingly iconoclastic. Of Sonnet 68 ("a tirade against wigs, by a baldie"), he says "I'd cheerfully send this one into the unanthologised dark." He also judges that in "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun", the turn is too little and too late, something I've always thought; and he is properly appreciative of the brilliance of sonnets such as "Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day" and "Th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame."