Don Paterson’s tour of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

March 5, 2010

On Tuesday night, Don Paterson, his capacious mind and his jealousy-inducing MacBook Air turned their joint focus upon Shakespeare’s Sonnets, part of our sonnets mini-season. He discussed their distinct form and unusual address, the prodigious technique it took to write them and the most instructive way to read them. In looking at what the Sonnets tell us and what the Sonnets tell us about Shakespeare, Don led the 60-strong audience to a greater understanding of  what the Sonnets tell us about us.

The feedback tells us what we strongly suspected: Don’s presentation was a hands-down hit. But it’s always especially nice to have compliments presented in a poetical manner. So I give you, blog fans, Ali Moir’s feedback on the Tuesday’s proceedings, sonnet-style.

I’m always partial to a well-turned sonnet,
(And like to hang around with poetry buffs)
So thought I’d go and hear a lecture on it
And learn how Shakespeare worked within the cuffs
Of this square frame. And found it’s not a muzzle,
But like gymnastic exercise for brain,
To work within the structure’s lovely puzzle,
To rhapsodize, or make sense out of pain.
Today, mind filled with rhyme and Fibonacci,
With wand’ring barks and golden youths long dead,
I realise the rhythm’s so darn catchy
Will had to write this way to clear his head!
So, thank you for an evening nicely donnish,
His chatty erudition does astonish.

Reproduced by permission of Ali Moir, with thanks

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