40 Sonnets: Book summary and reviews of 40 Sonnets by Don Patterson

40 Sonnets

by Don Patterson

40 Sonnets by Don Patterson X
40 Sonnets by Don Patterson
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2015
    56 pages
    Genre: Poetry

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Book Summary

"A tour de force by a poet at the height of his powers - these poems buzz with life and intelligence. The stand-out collection of the year." - Costa Award Committee

While some take a traditional form, and some are highly experimental, all the poems in this collection display the cool intelligence and lyric gift that has been the hallmark of Paterson's work since his first book, Nil Nil, in 1993.

Addressed to friends and strangers, the living and the dead, to children, poets, musicians and dogs – as well to as the author himself – these poems display an ambition in their scope and tonal range matched by the breadth of their concerns. In 40 Sonnets, Paterson returns to his central themes: contradiction and strangeness, tension and transformation, the dream world and the divided self.

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Book Awards

  • award image Costa Book Awards, 2015

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Thrillingly varied ... [Paterson is] an immensely skilled poet of craft and restraint, who speaks with a stunning lyrical voice." - Daily Telegraph (UK)

"A poet of genius." - Stuart Kelly The Scotsman (UK)

"Don Paterson's 40 Sonnets is what it says but more: variety in fourteen lines, and a wicked chunk of prose. He makes you laugh, or fall silent for minutes before you read it again." - Tom Stoppard TLS, Books of the Year

"Don Paterson finds more room in the sonnet than you'd find in some novels and strides through the ages, marrying craft to grain in 40 Sonnets." - The Observer, Books of the Year (UK)

"40 Sonnets breathes audacious vivacity into an ancient format, showing that poetic structures are no impediment to emotional intensity." - The New Statesman, Books of the Year (UK)

"40 Sonnets by Don Paterson shows his sheer mastery of the form, by turns scathing, witty and profoundly moving." - The Herald, Books of the Year

"40 Sonnets is simply extraordinary: all life, human or otherwise, in 14 lines." - The Independent (UK)

"Paterson's poetry has always been distinguished by its marriage of craft and lyricism, and the sonnet is, simply, the perfect vehicle to showcase this." - The Guardian (UK)

"The power of Paterson's art lies in its ability to make of claustrophobia a form of liberation too. There is technical mastery here, but it is the escape into more than technical mastery that makes 40 Sonnets the powerful and moving book it is." - Literary Review (UK)

"40 Sonnets needs no fanfare to commend it - it stands as a powerful indication of Paterson's strengths and ongoing poetic experimentation. Honest, unyielding, vigorous: this collection elicits and encapsulates the drunkenness of things being various." - The London Magazine (UK)

"[Paterson's] best poems ... those which make this book essential, work his wit and conceits into scenes whose helplessness they cannot do anything but tenderly register." - Irish Times

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More Information

Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. He works as a musician and editor, and has written four collections of poems, Nil Nil (1993), God's Gift to Women (1997) - winner of both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, The Eyes (1999) and Landing Light, which won both the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Prize for Poetry. Rain, his most recent collection, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2009. Find out more about Don Paterson at his own website.

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