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One of the Most Characteristic Shapes
Human Thought Can Take



... So by these various roads we have arrived at a miraculous little form in which our human need for unity and discontinuity, repetition and variation, tension and resolution, symmetry and asymmetry, lyric inspiration and argumentative rigour, are all held in near-perfect oppositional balance. The sonnet might be one of the great achievements of human ingenuity; I hope it’s clear by now that it isn’t an arbitrary construct that poets pit themselves against out of a perverse sense of craftsmanlike duty – it’s a box for their dreams, and represents one of the most characteristic shapes human thought can take. Poets write sonnets because it makes poems easier to write. Readers read them because it makes their lives easier to bear.

from 101 Sonnets (Faber, 1999)



 

Comments

Jack Vawdrey said…
Absolutely true. I believe that the most fulfilling existence comes when we can find the perfect balance between the objective and the subjective. If someone can care enough about an idea or person to be sincere, but not care too much that he or she ends up exercising excessive control, then he or she has found the happy medium where life has form and definition but also freedom and nuance.
Mark Granier said…
Have often quoted from Paterson's excellent book, especially when doing the sonnet with creative writing students.

Incidentally, The Reverse is also true: http://markgranier.blogspot.ie/2014/09/the-reverse.html

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…