cover image The Penguin Book of the Sonnet

The Penguin Book of the Sonnet

Various. Penguin Books, $23 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-14-058929-0

From Chaucer and (100-plus years later) Wyatt and Surrey to John Ashbery, June Jordan and Louise Glock, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English shows just how compelling 14 lines with varying (or no) rhyme scheme have been to poets working in the English language. Phillis Levin (Mercury; Forecasts, Mar. 12) has picked more than 600 poems for the collection, and while many of them are from the 20th century, most of those here don't hold a candle (or a florescent tube) to their forebears. Notes on the poets help further distinguish Dick Allen (b. 1939) from Matthew Arnold. ( July)