cover image The American Sonnet: An Anthology of Poems and Essays

The American Sonnet: An Anthology of Poems and Essays

Edited by Dora Malech and Laura Smith. Univ. of Iowa, $39.95 (404p) ISBN 978-1-60938-871-3

“The American Sonnet celebrates the multiplicity of the contemporary sonnet while widening the historical lens to contextualize this flourishing in light of its deep roots,” Malech and Smith write in their introduction to this timely and thoughtful consideration of the American sonnet. The anthology offers a varied selection of sonnets written by poets ranging from Phillis Wheatley (“Your subjects hope, dread Sire—/ The crown upon your brows may flourish long,/ And that your arm may in your God be strong!”) to Diane Seuss (“The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do/ without. To have, as my mother says, a wish in one hand/ and shit in another”). These appear alongside essays providing context and deep reflection on the sonnet form (Jahan Ramazani writes on “Self-Metaphorizing ‘American’ Sonnets,” while Anna Maria Hong considers “Three Mothers, Two Eves: Female Virtuosity and Outrage in the American Sonnet”). This strong selection of poems and critical texts highlights the diverse voices and perspectives shaping this versatile form while underscoring the exciting contributions of American sonnet writers. (Jan.)