It’s easy to think of sonnets as a White Man sport, focusing specifically on Dead White Men, but there are a lot of sonnets written by women, by people of color, and by, yes, Dead White Men. The form is the form, and lots of amazing people have practiced it over the centuries. Yes, we will feature Shakespeare here, but I plan on featuring others as well, and want to be inclusive.
I want to feature all kinds of sonnets (and other forms of poetry) on this website, so during the weekends, when I’m not reading the poems, I’m featuring other people reading poems. This is poet Terrance Hayes reading one of his sonnets. (It’s a trailer for his book, and very well produced)
This is from American Sonnets For My Past and Future Assassin. It was published in 2018, and is available on Amazon. In seventy poems that all have the same name and that were all written in the first 200 days of the Trump presidency, Hayes explores what it means to be Black, to be American, and to be discriminated against, all in 14 line increments.. These poems are by turns beautiful, funny, haunting, sad, and delicious. All of them are easy to read and understand, and the images are unforgettable. I highly recommend this book.
If you like that video, I highly recommend you view this one as well, which features Hayes reading a few of his poems and talking about his work.
and this Strand video featuring Hayes and Mary Karr reading his poetry and discussing.
And this Library of Congress video, which was done before American Sonnets came out, but well worth watching if you want to know about Terrance Hayes: