The sonnet is one of the oldest and most enduring literary forms of the post-classical world, a meeting place of image and voice, passion and reason, elegy and ode. It is a form that both challenges and liberates the poet.
For this anthology, poet and scholar Phillis Levin has gathered more than 600 sonnets to tell the full story of the sonnet tradition in the English language. She begins with its Italian origins; takes the reader through its multifaceted development from the Elizabethan era to the Romantic and Victorian; demonstrates its popularity as a vehicle of protest among writers of the Harlem Renaissance and poets who served in the First World War; and explores its revival among modern and contemporary poets. In her vibrant introduction, Levin traces this history, discussing characteristic structures and shifting themes and providing illuminating readings of individual sonnets. She includes an appendix on structure, biographical notes, and valuable explanatory notes and indexes. And, through her narrative and wide-ranging selection of sonnets and sonnet sequences, she portrays not only the evolution of the form over half a millennium but also its dynamic possibilities.
SIR THOMAS WYATT (1503?-1542)
"The longe love, that in my thought doeth harbar"
"Who so list to hounte I know where is an hynde"
"Farewell, Love, and all thy lawes for ever"
"My galy chargèd with forgetfulnes"
"I find no peace, and all my war is done"
HENRY HOWARD, EARL OF SURREY (1517?-1547)"The soote season, that bud and blome furth bringes"
"Alas, so all thinges nowe doe holde their peace"
"I never saw you, madam, lay apart"
"Love that liveth and reigneth in my thought"
ANNE LOCKE (1533?-1595)
from A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner: Written in maner of a Paraphrase upon the 51 Psalme of David
"Loe prostrate, Lorde, before thy face I lye"
"But render me my wonted joyes againe"
GEORGE GASCOIGNE (1539-1578)
"That self-same tongue which first did thee entreat"
A Sonet written in prayse of the browne beautie
GILES FLETCHER THE ELDER (1549?-1611)
from Licia or Poems of Love
20. "First did I fear, when first my love began"
EDMUND SPENSER (1552?-1599)
1. "Happy ye leaves when as those lilly hands"
8. "More then most faire, full of the living fire"
18. "The rolling wheele that runneth often round"
22. "This holy season fit to fast and pray"
23. "Penelope for her Ulisses' sake"
30. "My love is lyke to yse, and I to fyre"
37. "What guyle is this, that those her golden tresses"
45. "Leave, lady, in your glasse of christall clene"
67. "Lyke as a huntsman after weary chace"
68. "Most glorious Lord of lyfe that on this day"
71. "I joy to see how in your drawen work"
75. "One day I wrote her name upon the strand"
78. "Lackyng my love I go from place to place"
79. "Men call you fayre, and you doe credit it"
81. "Fayre is my love, when her fayre golden heares"
FULKE GREVILLE, LORD BROOKE (1554-1628)
38. "Cælica, I overnight was finely used"
39. "The nurse-life wheat, within his green husk growing"
100. "In night when colours all to black are cast"
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY (1554-1586)
from The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia
"My true love hath my hart, and I have his"
from Astrophel and Stella
1. "Loving in truth, and faine in verse my love to show"
3. "Let daintie wits crie on the Sisters nine"
5. "It is most true that eyes are form'd to serve"
31. "With how sad steps, O Moone, thou climb'st the skies"
37."My mouth doth water, and my breast doth swell"
39. "Come sleepe, O sleepe, the certaine knot of peace"
41. "Having this day my horse, my hand, my launce"
47. "What, have I thus betrayed my libertie?"
49. "I on my horse, and Love on me doth trie"
54. "Because I breathe not love to everie one"
63. "O Grammer rules, O now your vertues show"
71. "Who will in fairest booke of Nature know"
73. "Love still a boy, and oft a wanton is"
90. "Stella, thinke not that I by verse seeke fame"
from Certaine Sonnets
"Leave me, O Love, which reachest but to dust"
SIR WALTER RALEGH (1554?-1618)
A vision upon This Conceipt of the Faery Queene
"A secret murder hath been done of late"
To His Son
THOMAS LODGE (1558-1625)
from Phillis: Honoured with Pastorall Sonnets, Elegies, and amorous delights
35. "I hope and feare, I pray and hould my peace"
GEORGE CHAPMAN (1559?-1634)
from A Coronet for his Mistress Philosophy
1. "Muses that sing Love's sensual empery"
HENRY CONSTABLE (1562-1613)
"Needs must I leave, and yet needs must I love"
MARK ALEXANDER BOYD (1563-1601)
Sonet ("Fra banc to banc, fra wod to wod, I rin")
SAMUEL DANIEL (1563-1619)
from To Delia
34. "Looke, Delia, how wee steeme the half-blowne Rose"
49. "Care-charmer Sleepe, sonne of the sable Night"
50. "Let others sing of Knights and Palladines"
MICHAEL DRAYTON (1563-1631)
from Idea in Sixtie Three Sonnets
5. "Nothing but No and I, and I and No"
6. "How many paltry, foolish, painted things"
7. "Love, in a Humor, play'd the Prodigall"
15. His Remedie for Love
38. "Sitting alone, Love bids me goe and write"
61. "Since ther's no helpe, Come let us kisse and part"
JOHN DAVIES OF HEREFORD (C. 1563?-1618)
"Some blaze the precious beauties of their loves"
"Although we do not all the good we love"
The author loving these homely meats specially, viz.: cream, pancakes, buttered pippin-pies, &c.
CHARLES BEST (D. 1602)
Of the Moon
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
from Love's Labour's Lost
"Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye"
from Romeo and Juliet
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand"
1. "From fairest creatures we desire increase"
3. "Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest"
13. "O, that you were yourself, but, love, you are"
18. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
19. "Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws"
20. "A woman's face, with Nature's own hand painted"
24. "Mine eye hath played the painter and hath stelled"
27. "Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed"
29. "When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes"
53. "What is your substance, whereof are you made"
55. "Not marble nor the gilded monuments"
57. "Being your slave, what should I do but tend"
60. "Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore"
65. "Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea"
71. "No longer mourn for me when I am dead"
73. "That time of year thou mayst in me behold"
94. "They that have pow'r to hurt and will do none"
105. "Let not my love be called idolatry"
106. "When in the chronicle of wasted time"
116. "Let me not to the marriage of true minds"
127. "In the old age black was not counted fair"
128. "How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st"
129. "Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame"
130. "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"
134. "So, now I have confessed that he is thine"
138. "When my love swears that she is made of truth"
141. "In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes"
144. "Two loves I have, of comfort and despair"
146. "Poor soul, the center of my sinful earth"
147. "My love is as a fever, longing still"
151. "Love is too young to know what conscience is"
JAMES I (1566-1625)
An Epitaph on Sir Philip Sidney
SIR JOHN DAVIES (1569-1626)
from Gullinge Sonnets
5. "Mine Eye, myne eare, my will, my witt, my harte"
"If you would know the love which I you bear"
JOHN DONNE (1572-1631)
1. "Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise"
from Holy Sonnets
1. "Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay"
5. "I am a little world made cunningly"
6. "This is my play's last scene, here heavens appoint"
7. "At the round earth's imagined corners, blow"
10. "Death be not proud, though some have called thee"
13. "What if this present were the world's last night?"
14. "Batter my heart, three-personed God; for, you"
18. "Show me dear Christ, thy spouse, so bright and clear"
19. "Oh, to vex me, contraries meet in one"
Sonnet. The Token
BEN JONSON (1572?-1637)
A Sonnet to the Noble Lady, the Lady Mary Wroth
LORD HERBERT OF CHERBURY (1583-1648)
"Sonnet to Black It Self"
WILLIAM DRUMMOND OF HAWTHORNDEN (1585-1649)
"I know that all beneath the moon decays"
"Sleep, Silence' child, sweet father of soft rest"
LADY MARY WROTH (1587?-1652?)
from Pamphilia to Amphilanthus
A crowne of Sonetts dedicated to Love
ROBERT HERRICK (1591-1674)
To his mistress objecting to him neither toying nor talking
To his ever-loving God
GEORGE HERBERT (1593-1633)
Two Sonnets Sent to His Mother, New-Year 1609/10
The H. Scriptures (I)
The H. Scriptures (II)
JOHN MILTON (1608-1674)
How Soon Hath Time
To Mr. H. Lawes, On His Airs
On the Detraction Which Followed Upon My Writing Certain Treatises
On the New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament
To the Lord General Cromwell
On the Late Massacre in Piedmont
"When I consider how my light is spent"
"Methought I saw my late espousèd Saint"
CHARLES COTTON (1630-1687)
Resolution in Four Sonnets, of a Poetical Question Put to Me by a Friend, Concerning Four Rural Sisters
THOMAS GRAY (1716-1771)
On the Death of Mr. Richard West
THOMAS WARTON, THE YOUNGER (1728-1790)
To the River Lodon
ANNA SEWARD (1747-1809)
To Mr. Henry Cary, on the Publication of His Sonnets
CHARLOTTE SMITH (1749-1806)
To the Moon
Written Near a Port on a Dark Evening
WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827)
To the Evening Star
ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796)
A Sonnet upon Sonnets
THOMAS RUSSELL (1762-1788)
To the Spider
ELIZABETH COBBOLD (1767-1824)
from Sonnets of Laura
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850)
"Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room"
Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
"The world is too much with us; late and soon"
"It is a beauteous evening, calm and free"
from Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty
To Toussaint L'Ouverture
"It is no Spirit who from heaven hath flown"
"Surprised by joy-impatient as the wind"
from The River Duddon, A Series of Sonnets (1820)
III. "How shall I paint thee?-Be this naked stone"
from Ecclesiastical Sonnets in Series (1822)
47. "Why sleeps the future, as a snake enrolled"
"Scorn not the Sonnet; critic, you have frowned"
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (1772-1834)
To the River Otter
To a Friend, Who Asked How I Felt, When the Nurse First Presented My Infant to Me
Work Without Hope
ROBERT SOUTHEY (1774-1843)
from Poems on the Slave Trade
VI. "High in the air exposed the slave is hung"
To a Goose
CHARLES LAMB (1775-1834)
The Family Name
JOSEPH BLANCO WHITE (1775-1841)
HORACE SMITH (1779-1849)
EBENEZER ELLIOTT (1781-1849)
"In these days, every mother's son or daughter"
MARTHA HANSON (FL. 1809)
"How proudly Man usurps the power to reign"
MARY F. JOHNSON (FL. 1810 D. 1863)
The Idiot Girl
LEIGH HUNT (1784-1859)
To the Grasshopper and the Cricket
GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788-1824)
"Rousseau-Voltaire-our Gibbon-and de Staël"
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY (1792-1822)
Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte
England in 1819
Ode to the West Wind
JOHN CLARE (1793-1864)
To John Clare
The Happy Bird
The Thrush's Nest
JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
To My Brothers
"Great spirits now on earth are sojourning"
On the Grasshopper and Cricket
"When I have fears that I may cease to be"
"Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art"
Sonnet to Sleep
"If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd"
"I cry your mercy-pity-love!-aye, love"
HARTLEY COLERIDGE (1796-1849)
To a Friend
"Let me not deem that I was made in vain"
"Think upon Death, 'tis good to think of Death"
THOMAS LOVELL BEDDOES (1803-1849)
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING (1806-1861)
Finite and Infinite
from Sonnets from the Portuguese
I. "I thought once how Theocritus had sung"
VII. "The face of all the world is changed, I think"
XIII. "And wilt thou have me fashion into speech"
XVIII. "I never gave a lock of hair away"
XLII. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways"
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882)
The Cross of Snow
CHARLES TENNYSON TURNER (1808-1879)
On the Eclipse of the Moon of October 1865
EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849)
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON (1809-1892)
"If I were loved, as I desire to be"
"Mine be the strength of spirit fierce and free"
ROBERT BROWNING (1812-1889)
Why I Am a Liberal
JONES VERY (1813-1880)
AUBREY THOMAS DE VERE (1814-1902)
The Sun God
GEORGE ELIOT (1819-1880)
from Brother and Sister
I. "I cannot choose but think upon the time"
XI. "School parted us; we never found again"
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (1819-1891)
FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN (1821-1873)
from Sonnets, First Series
10. "An upper chamber in a darkened house"
28. "Not the round natural world, not the deep mind"
from Sonnets, Second Series
7. "His heart was in his garden; but his brain"
29. "How oft in schoolboy-days, from the school's sway"
MATTHEW ARNOLD (1822-1888)
SYDNEY DOBELL (1824-1874)
The Army Surgeon
GEORGE MEREDITH (1828-1909)
from Modern Love
I. "By this he knew she wept with waking eyes"
XVII. "At dinner, she is hostess, I am host"
XXX. "What are we first? First, animals; and next"
XXXIV. "Madam would speak with me. So, now it comes"
XLVII. "We saw the swallows gathering in the sky"
XLIX. "He found her by the ocean's moaning verge"
L. "Thus piteously Love closed what he begat"
Lucifer in Starlight
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (1828-1882)
from The House of Life
XV. The Birth-Bond
XIX. Silent Noon
LIII. Without Her
LXXXIII. Barren Spring
XCVII. A Superscription
CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830-1894)
In an Artist's Studio
from The Thread of Life
"Thus am I mine own prison. Everything"
ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE (1837-1909)
On the Russian Persecution of the Jews
THOMAS HARDY (1840-1928)Hap
She, to Him (I)
She, to Him (II)
In the Old Theatre, Fiesole (April 1887)
At a Lunar Eclipse
A Church Romance
Over the Coffin
We Are Getting to the End
ROBERT BRIDGES (1844-1930)
"While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry"
GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS (1844-1889)
"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame"
The Caged Skylark
"I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day"
"No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief"
"Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee"
That Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire and of the Comfort of the Resurrection
"Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend"
To R. B.
EUGENE LEE-HAMILTON (1845-1907)
from Imaginary Sonnets
Luther to a Bluebottle Fly (1540)
ALICE CHRISTINA MEYNELL (1847-1922)
To a Daisy
EMMA LAZARUS (1849-1887)
The New Colossus
OSCAR WILDE (1856-1900)
On the sale by auction of Keats' love letters
FRANCIS THOMPSON (1859-1907)
W. B. YEATS (1865-1939)
The Folly of Being Comforted
The Fascination of What's Difficult
At the Abbey Theater
"While I, from that reed-throated whisperer"
Leda and the Swan
A Crazed Girl
ERNEST DOWSON (1867-1900)
A Last Word
EDWARD ARLINGTON ROBINSON (1869-1935)
Sonnet ("The master and the slave go hand in hand")
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON (1871-1938)
PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR (1872-1906)
Robert Gould Shaw
AMY LOWELL (1874-1925)
To John Keats
TRUMBULL STICKNEY (1874-1904)
"Be still. The Hanging Gardens were a dream"
RUPERT BROOKE (1875-1915)
ALICE DUNBAR-NELSON (1875-1935)
Sonnet ("I had no thought of violets of late")
ROBERT FROST (1875-1963)
A Dream Pang
Meeting and Passing
The Oven Bird
Acquainted with the Night
The Silken Tent
Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same
EDWARD THOMAS (1878-1917)
Some Eyes Condemn
EZRA POUND (1885-1972)
ELINOR WYLIE (1885-1928)
from Wild Peaches
1. "When the world turns completely upside down"
2. "The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass"
Sonnet ("When, in the dear beginning of the fever")
A Lodging for the Night
SIEGFRIED SASSOON (1886-1967)
Glory of Women
On Passing the New Menin Gate
ROBINSON JEFFERS (1887-1962)
Love the Wild Swan
MARIANNE MOORE (1887-1972)
No Swan So Fine
EDWIN MUIR (1887-1959)
T. S. ELIOT (1888-1965)
from The Dry Salvages
JOHN CROWE RANSOM (1888-1974)
CLAUDE MCKAY (1890-1948)
If We Must Die
The Harlem Dancer
ARCHIBALD MACLEISH (1892-1983)
The End of the World
Aeterna Poetae Memoria
EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892-1950)
"Thou art not lovelier than lilacs,-no"
"Time does not bring relief; you all have lied"
"If I should learn, in some quite casual way"
"Oh, think not I am faithful to a vow"
"Pity me not because the light of day"
"I shall go back again to the bleak shore"
"I, being born a woman and distressed"
"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why"
"Still will I harvest beauty where it grows"
from Fatal Interview (1931)
II. "This beast that rends me in the sight of all"
VII. "Night is my sister, and how deep in love"
XX. "Think not, nor for a moment let your mind"
XXX. "Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink"
"I will put Chaos into fourteen lines"
"Read history: so learn your place in Time"
from Epitaph for the Race of Man (1934)
V. "When Man is gone and only gods remain"
WILFRED OWEN (1893-1918)
Anthem for Doomed Youth
Dulce et Decorum Est
DOROTHY PARKER (1893-1967)
"I Shall Come Back"
e. e. cummings (1894-1962)
"when thou hast taken thy last applause,and when"
"my girl's tall with hard long eyes"
"it is at moments after i have dreamed"
"it may not always be so;and i say"
I. "when my love comes to see me it's"
II. "it is funny,you will be dead some day"
VII. "yours is the music for no instrument"
X. "a thing most new complete fragile intense"
XII. "my love is building a building"
"i like my body when it is with your"
" 'next to of course god america i"
"if i have made,my lady,intricate"
"i carry your heart with me(i carry it in"
JEAN TOOMER (1894-1967)
November Cotton Flower
ROBERT GRAVES (1895-1985)
History of the Word
EDMUND BLUNDEN (1896-1974)
Vlamertinghe: Passing the Chateau, July 1917
LOUISE BOGAN (1897-1970)
Sonnet ("Dark, underground, is furnished with the bone")
HART CRANE (1899-1932)
To Emily Dickinson
ALLEN TATE (1899-1979)
from Sonnets at Christmas
2. "Ah, Christ, I love you rings to the wild sky"
YVOR WINTERS (1900-1968)
To Emily Dickinson
ROY CAMPBELL (1901-1957)
Luis de Camões
COUNTEE CULLEN (1903-1946)
Yet Do I Marvel
At the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
EDWIN DENBY (1903-1983)
MERRILL MOORE (1903-1957)
They Also Stand . . .
PATRICK KAVANAUGH (1904-1967)
Canal Bank Walk
PHYLLIS MCGINLEY (1905-1978)
ELLIOTT COLEMAN (1906-1980)
from Oedipus Sonnets
3. "In a May evening, commuter, king"
W. H. AUDEN (1907-1973)
Brussels in Winter
from The Quest: A Sonnet Sequence
from In Time of War
XII. "And the age ended, and the last deliverer died"
XXVII. "Wandering lost upon the mountains of our choice"
LOUIS MACNEICE (1907-1963)
MALCOLM LOWRY (1909-1957)
Delirium in Vera Cruz
JAMES REEVES (B. 1909)
STEPHEN SPENDER (1909-1995)
"Without that once clear aim, the path of flight"
ELIZABETH BISHOP (1911-1979)
Sonnet ("Caught-the bubble")
GEORGE BARKER (1913-1991)
To My Mother
ROBERT HAYDEN (1913-1980)
Those Winter Sundays
MURIEL RUKEYSER (1913-1980)
On the Death of Her Mother
DELMORE SCHWARTZ (1913-1966)
The Beautiful American Word, Sure
JOHN BERRYMAN (1914-1972)
from Berryman's Sonnets (1967)
7. "I've found out why, that day, that suicide"
15. "What was Ashore, then? . . Cargoed with Forget"
36. "Keep your eyes open when you kiss: do: when"
107. "Darling I wait O in my upstairs box"
115. "All we were going strong last night this time"
WELDON KEES (1914-1955)
For My Daughter
WILLIAM STAFFORD (1914-1993)
DYLAN THOMAS (1914-1953)
Among Those Killed in the Dawn Raid Was a Man Aged a Hundred
MARGARET WALKER (1915-1998)
For Malcolm X
GWENDOLYN BROOKS (1917-2000)
from The Children of the Poor
1. "People who have no children can be hard"
4. "First fight. Then fiddle. Ply the slipping string"
from Gay Chaps at the Bar
gay chaps at the bar
still do I keep my look, my identity . . .
my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell
piano after war
CHARLES CAUSLEY (B. 1917)
ROBERT LOWELL (1917-1977)
Words for Hart Crane
WILLIAM MEREDITH (B. 1919)
AMY CLAMPITT (1920-1994)
The Cormorant in Its Element
HOWARD NEMEROV (1920-1991)
A Primer of the Daily Round
HAYDEN CARRUTH (B. 1921)
2. "How is it, tell me, that this new self can be"
3. "Last night, I don't know if from habit or intent"
4. "While you stood talking at the counter, cutting"
5. "From our very high window at the Sheraton"
Sonnet ("Well, she told me I had an aura. 'What?' I said")
MARIE PONSOT (B. 1921)
Out of Eden
RICHARD WILBUR (B. 1921)
Praise in Summer
PHILIP LARKIN (1922-1985)
"Love, we must part now: do not let it be"
ANTHONY HECHT (B. 1923)
The Feast of Stephen
JANE COOPER (B. 1924)
DONALD JUSTICE (B. 1925)
Henry James by the Pacific
JAMES K. BAXTER (1926-1972)
from Jerusalem Sonnets
1. "The small gray cloudy louse that nests in my beard"
JAMES MERRILL (1926-1995)
W. D. SNODGRASS (B. 1926)
Mh' tiV . . . Ou''tiV
JOHN ASHBERY (B. 1927)
Rain Moving In
W. S. MERWIN (B. 1927)
Epitaph on Certain Schismatics
JAMES WRIGHT (1927-1980)
My Grandmother's Ghost
DONALD HALL (B. 1928)
President and Poet
PHILIP LEVINE (B. 1928)
THOM GUNN (B. 1929)
First Meeting with a Possible Mother-in-Law
Keats at Highgate
JOHN HOLLANDER (B. 1929)
from Powers of Thirteen
"Just the right number of letters-half the alphabet"
"That other time of day when the chiming of Thirteen"
from The Mad Potter
"Clay to clay: Soon I shall indeed become"
ADRIENNE RICH (B. 1929)
from Contradictions: Tracking Poems
1. "Look: this is January the worst onslaught"
14. "Lately in my dreams I hear long sentences"
18. "The problem, unstated till now, is how"
DEREK WALCOTT (B. 1930)
Homage to Edward Thomas
GEOFFREY HILL (B. 1932)
SYLVIA PLATH (1932-1963)
JOHN UPDIKE (B. 1932)
TED BERRIGAN (1934-1983)
from The Sonnets
III. "Stronger than alcohol, more great than song"
JEAN VALENTINE (B. 1934)
ROBERT MEZEY (B. 1935)
GRACE SCHULMAN (B. 1935)
The Abbess of Whitby
CHARLES WRIGHT (B. 1935)
Composition in Grey and Pink
JUNE JORDAN (B. 1936)
Sunflower Sonnet Number Two
JUDITH RODRIGUEZ (B. 1936)
FREDERICK SEIDEL (B. 1936)
JOHN FULLER (B. 1937)
from Lily and Violin
6. "Afterwards we may not speak: piled chords"
TONY HARRISON (B. 1937)
from Fom The School of Eloquence
On Not Being Milton
LES MURRAY (B. 1938)
CHARLES SIMIC (B. 1938)
DICK ALLEN (B. 1939)
FRANK BIDART (B. 1939)
SEAMUS HEANEY (B. 1939)
Act of Union
The Seed Cutters
A Dream of Jealousy
II. "Polished linoleum shone there. Brass taps shone"
III. "When all the others were away at Mass"
STANLEY PLUMLY (B. 1939)
from Boy on the Step
1. "He's out of breath only halfway up the hill"
5. "None of us dies entirely-some of us, all"
BILLY COLLINS (B. 1941)
Sonnet ("All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now")
DOUGLAS DUNN (B. 1942)
MARILYN HACKER (B. 1942)
Sonnet ("Love drives its rackety blue caravan")
from Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons
"Did you love well what very soon you left"
from Cancer Winter
"Syllables shaped around the darkening day's"
"I woke up, and the surgeon said, 'You're cured' "
"The odd and even numbers of the street"
"At noon, an orderly wheeled me upstairs"
DAVID HUDDLE (B. 1942)
from Tour of Duty
ANN LAUTERBACH (B. 1942)
CHARLES MARTIN (B. 1942)
Easter Sunday, 1985
from Making Faces
II. The End of the World
The Philosopher's Balloon
WILLIAM MATTHEWS (1942-1997)
HENRY TAYLOR (B. 1942)
Green Springs the Tree
LOUISE GLÜCK (B. 1943)
ELLEN BRYANT VOIGT (B. 1943)
"Dear Mattie, You're sweet to write me every day"
"When does a childhood end? Mothers"
"This is the double bed where she'd been born"
"Once the world had had its fill of war"
EAVAN BOLAND (B. 1944)
Yeats in Civil War
J. D. MCCLATCHY (B. 1945)
LEON STOKESBURY (B. 1945)
To His Book
STAR BLACK (B. 1946)
Rilke's Letter from Rome
MARILYN NELSON (B. 1946)
BRUCE SMITH (B. 1946)
from In My Father's House
O My Invisible Estate
MOLLY PEACOCK (B. 1947)
Instead of Her Own
HUGH SEIDMAN (B. 1947)
14 First Sentences
FLOYD SKLOOT (B. 1947)
My Daughter Considers Her Body
RACHEL HADAS (B. 1948)
Moments of Summer
DAVID LEHMAN (B. 1948)
Sonnet ("No roof so poor it does not shelter")
TIMOTHY STEELE (B. 1948)
AGHA SHAHID ALI (B. 1949)
from I Dream I Am the Only Passenger on Flight 423 to Srinagar,
"and when we-as if from ashes-ascend"
"Attar-of jasmine? What was it she wore"
DENIS JOHNSON (B. 1949)
SHEROD SANTOS (B. 1949)
JULIA ALVAREZ (B. 1950)
"Where are the girls who were so beautiful"
"Let's make a modern primer for our kids"
"Ever have an older lover say: God"
"Secretly I am building in the heart"
DANA GIOIA (B. 1950)
Sunday Night in Santa Rosa
T. R. HUMMER (B. 1950)
The Rural Carrier Stops to Kill a Nine-Foot Cottonmouth
MEDBH MCGUCKIAN (B. 1950)
Still Life of Eggs
PAUL MULDOON (B. 1951)
Why Brownlee Left
RITA DOVE (B. 1952)
Sonnet in Primary Colors
MARK JARMAN (B. 1952)
from Unholy Sonnets
2. "Which is the one, which of the imps inside"
9. "Someone is always praying as the plane"
14. "In via est cisterna"
ELIZABETH MACKLIN (B. 1952)
I Fail to Speak to My Earth, My Desire
Foolishly Halved, I See You
TOM SLEIGH (B. 1953)
The Very End
from The Work
4. The God
ROSANNA WARREN (B. 1953)
DAVID WOJAHN (B. 1953)
from Mystery Train: A Sequence
1. Homage: Light from the Hall
2. Buddy Holly Watching Rebel Without a Cause, Lubbock, Texas, 1956
DAVID BAKER (B. 1954)
Top of the Stove
BRUCE BOND (B. 1954)
PHILLIS LEVIN (B. 1954)
JAMES MCCORKLE (B. 1954)
Deer at the Corner of the House
JOHN BURNSIDE (B. 1955)
The Myth of the Twin
CAROL ANN DUFFY (B. 1955)
ROBIN ROBERTSON (B. 1955)
Wedding the Locksmith's Daughter
APRIL BERNARD (B. 1956)
Sonnet in E
HENRI COLE (B. 1956)
ANNIE FINCH (B. 1956)
KARL KIRCHWEY (B. 1956)
DEBORAH LASER (B. 1956)
from Between Two Gardens
"Night shares this day with me, is the rumpled"
JACQUELINE OSHEROW (B. 1956)
Sonnet for a Single Day in Autumn
Yom Kippur Sonnet, with a Line from Lamentations
JAMES LASDUN (B. 1958)
KATE LIGHT (B. 1960)
Reading Someone Else's Love Poems
Your Unconscious Speaks to My Unconscious
And Then There Is That Incredible Moment,
JOE BOLTON (1961-1990)
II. "I was surprised to find how light I felt"
SASCHA FEINSTEIN (B. 1963)
from Sonnets for Stan Gage (1945-1992)
"Floodlight shadow. Your shoes are stroking"
"With young people the heart keeps beating even"
RAFAEL CAMPO (B. 1964)
The Mental Status Exam
MIKE NELSON (B. 1967)
Light Sonnet for the Lover of a Dark
DANIEL GUTSTEIN (B. 1968)
What Can Disappear
BETH ANN FENNELLY (B. 1971)
Poem Not to Be Read at Your Wedding
JASON SCHNEIDERMAN (B. 1976)
The Disease Collector
Appendix: The Architecture of a Sonnet
Suggestions for Further Reading
Index of Authors
Index of Titles and First Lines