Customer Reviews, including Product Star Ratings help customers to learn more about the product and decide whether it is the right product for them.
To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyzed reviews to verify trustworthiness.
I am a major reader of poetry (and an occasional writer). While the sonnet form originated as a love poem or, in many cases, a sequence of poems, the "Extreme Sonnets" collection represents a new and extraordinary variety of topics. All the issues of our time are represented: politics, society, the environment, the arts, sexuality... If you can name it, one of these writers has likely addressed it in sonnet form. The poems are well crafted, and the selection has been carefully curated by editor Beth Houston. A very fun read!
I was not sure what to expect when I ordered this collection of sonnets, but I am happily surprised! These are not your father's or grandfather's sonnets! What I find most surprising is how very 'modern' these poems are. They delve into and explore a myriad of topics and issues. Beth Houston has assembled an interesting mix of poets and perspectives. I highly recommend 'Extreme Sonnets'.
I know of Beth Houston as both an author and professor. I bought the book as I love to read poetry. I think we can all thank Covid 19 and a world pandemic for all of us doing some long lost reading for entertainment. As I worked my way through Extreme Sonnets, I was more than entertained. It was inspirational to read ALL these original sonnets, and motivational to the point that made me want to start doing some writing. Thanks Ms. Houston for the literary push we ALL need. Thank you, authors/poets for sharing your beautiful work!
This is a fine collection of formal sonnets on a wide range of subjects, both modern and traditional. The poets are in some cases familiar names, and in other cases less well known, but every poem that Beth Houston has chosen to publish is interesting, provocative and occasionally shocking. Nevertheless, they all demonstrate that the ancient poetic form that originated in Sicily is still alive, well, and kicking.
Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2021
If you've "hated" poetry ever since you had to study it in school, here's a game changer for you. Think "sonnet" means "stodgy"? Dive in anywhere in this lovingly curated book and you'll discover dozens of new spins on an old tradition: "Shall I compare thee to a pugilist/With butterfly's bright float, bee's brighter sting?" So begins Chris O'Carroll's love sonnet titled "Spouses Who Fight Live Longer" keying off a science website article. Leslie Monsour ponders intentions against reality: 'I'd like to go to Mexico," you said,/with you, someday, before we're too damn old." What are the chances? A sample of the Contents gives you much to look forward to: "Tough Professor Sonnet," "The Hoarder," "Moscow Zoo," "Size Four." And more. Invest in some pleasurable time with the friends in this book who also happen to be smashingly good poets.
One will not find a finer collection of modern sonnets, penned by the most professional minds alive and writing in English. Consider this cascade by the estimable Jerome Betts, evocatively titled "Lines in Baked Clay," (page 47):
"Between the trees, the soil dries out and splits, Smelling of apples perfumed by the sun; In warm bruised fruit the wasps fret browning pits. Over the orchard hedge, the furrows run Down towards the ghost that troubles ranks of maize Whose tassels dip, rise, dip, to mark the stone Parching their growth, town pavements, drains and ways..."
Or an excerpt from this astonishing sonnet, "Snakebite," by a master of formal verse whom beginners and seasoned experts would do well to hear and mimic -- Joseph Salemi (page 54):
"In Texas there's real danger on the ground. Nobody warned him. Guess they never thought It necessary to explain. And so He went out poking through an Indian mound Maybe for shards or arrowheads. He caught A glimpse of something curious at the lip Of one small crevice, reached in like a fool -- The rattler struck him squarely on the palm..."
These sonnets deserve to be memorized, their lines worth remembering. Brava to Ms. Houston for this iconic anthology.
Jennifer Reeser sonnet-writer and author of "Indigenous"
Beth Houston has put together an extraordinary tome adhering to the strict parameters of the traditional sonnet. Who would embark on such a quixotic adventure? It’s a gamble, a vanity, a shot in the dark—most of all it is a resounding success that leaves the greater portion of the poetry world in the dust. At a time when beauty is a battered and abused concept lost to a relativistic ideology of anything goes, a return to classic beauty, what Houston calls in her preface the “delicate lacework of a snowflake’s perfect symmetry,” is pure genius.
This is not to say that all of the sonnets will dazzle, just as every page of a novel will not have you on the edge of your seat. It feels as if Houston has uncovered a golden nugget and the prospectors are now dashing to their first best guess of where to dig, at times perhaps misguidedly. But make no mistake, "there is gold in them there hills": infusing the strict classical sonnet with a contemporary poet’s perspective and with so many poets contributing on so many topics feels like a new genre: what might be termed grand formalism.
To highlight but a few of the golden nuggets there are Houston’s own hilarious and heartfelt Miltonian sonnet “On My Blindness”; Gail White’s striking and effective dark humor in “The Hoarder”; formalist legend Joseph Salemi’s flawless rendering of a “Military Funeral”; A.M. Juster’s subtle masterpiece “Moscow Zoo” (which captures that palpable sense of an all-consuming socialist bureaucracy we know too well these days); the eerie and luminescent “Psalm” by Alexander Pepple; and closed out with the hauntingly beautiful “Three Fates” from Salemi. The list could go on. At any rate, this is definitely a collection of sonnets worth reading. Congratulations to all of the poets involved!
A bit skeptically, I wondered what could be in a large collection of contemporary "extreme" sonnets, but was anxious to find out because the form is so appealing and powerful when used well. In this collection I am surprised over and over and delighted more as I read on--at the variety and skill and music and play of the various sonnets. In addition to the many individual poems and their lively workings there is a cumulative effect that amounts to a unique and rare new experience. Obviously a work of love by the editor, this is also an achievement that impresses by the number and richness of the offerings gathered. So rich a field that I didn't know existed in our time. I think of the old saying: "A sonnet is a moment's monument." Proved true here over and over.
This is a delightful collection of poetry - lively and strong, varied in matter and manner and not only accessible to all, but with much asking to be memorised. These seem to be "extreme" only in the sense that such compliments are rarely earned in poetry anthologies of current writing. Behind the anthology's arrangement one senses some thematic 'links' but they do not distract from the individuality of the poems - all of which are, refreshingly, traditional formal sonnets. Recognised accomplished writers in this genre, such as A. M Juster, Gail White, D.R. Goodman and David Anthony, are joined by more than thirty others, familiar and unfamiliar. Nearly all of the poets here are American but other origins and bases include Denmark, England, The Netherlands, Scotland and Wales. Thanks to excellent listing and indexing, the reader can also subvert the proffered arrangement and read by author - or be happily led 'astray' by found connections to enter new territory. I absolutely loved it and plaudits are due to Beth Houston the anthology's editor, and herself a significant contributor, for this publication.