The Shadow Sonnets
In this new collection, Richard Sommer shadows the Shakespearean sonnet, taking the most traditional form for expressing love and expanding its range and message to reflect our times. Sommer's sonnets create a strange music, with rhymes that are often proximate rather than identical. They are shadows, too, of the spirit of the sonnet, of its ever present thread of argument, its dense and gnarled sense of intimate conversation or panicked declaration, its erotic unrest, its terrible desire for someone and something unpossessed and not to be possessed. Sommer extends the sonnet beyond its traditional territory of love between man and woman to embrace the natural world around him and the deteriorating ecology of the planet. The result is a rich weave of past and present, love and pain, language and world.
Writing to find the sonnet's real way
before she ups & leaves me flat, flies home.
(That first line was for tomorrow's poem,
but now I'm in the tomorrow of yesterday.)
Would she leave me so? You bet she would.
Yet where is home for sonnets, in these days?
The sonnet which is more than private maze
or verbal seduction or pedestal of wood
painted to look like marble which in turn
was carved to look like what the past seemed then.
Tradition: patriarchs pat bums again,
stuff ashes of flashy passion into an urn.
The sonnet's more, or less, than such lost
lace. The man's poem. His pretensions, his grace.