September 6th, 2008

A Note On The Sonnets

A lightbulb just went on. I've been approaching the sonnets as romantic or confessional poems (which is how they've usually been treated in the tradition) when what they actually are is highly decorated pieces of Renaissance craft-  poems about poetry- objects of vertu- with very little true feeling in them.  The "lovely youth" was a patron who was paying to be flattered and the "dark lady" little more than a literary construct.  But is that bad? Any of it?  Of course not. Or only if you're expecting Shakespeare to be Sylvia Plath....