Friday, October 03, 2014

Happy 10th! Mark Kingwell on Jailbreaks by Zach Wells

Jailbreaks: 99 Canadian Sonnets is one of the best anthologies of poetry I know, and in my top five contemporary poetry books ever. Zach Wells selects sonnets from across the country, across generations, and across styles. For those who think sonnets all look the same, there is much to learn here about the range of poetic possibility within a single set of formal constraints. Among other clever things, Wells's introduction argues that the fourteen lines of the Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnet forms are poetry's finest vehicle for introducing, developing, and concluding a well-formed thought. These poems are thus phenomenological jailbreaks, consciousness busting out -- in good order -- from the buzzing prison-yard of our jumbled minds. A book to dip into or read cover to cover, with delight on every page.

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