Cover: The Art of the Sonnet, from Harvard University PressCover: The Art of the Sonnet in PAPERBACK

The Art of the Sonnet

Product Details


$26.00 • £22.95 • €23.95

ISBN 9780674061804

Publication Date: 10/15/2011


464 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Belknap Press


Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Newcomers to poetry and longtime readers alike will find this a rich and rewarding volume.—Lauren Winner, Books & Culture

A carefully selected set of 100 sonnets, spanning 1557 to 2009, each with a compact companion essay. [The editors’] aim is to present ‘a partial history of the sonnet form.’ But that puts it too modestly. With their selection of poems and their (mostly) compelling essays, Burt and Mikics manage to give a vivid sense of the sonnet in English as a living, organic thing, interconnected and evolving through time… It’s the essays that really distinguish this volume… Many of these essays are models of how to write about a poem, especially one centuries old. If you like to get under the hood of a poem and poke around at its inner mechanics, to see what makes it go, then the more technical parts of these essays won’t disappoint. But they’re not just technical: They strike an appealing balance of historical, biographical, and textual analysis, while remaining, for the most part, accessible.—Wen Stephenson, The Boston Globe

Burt and Mikics write two or three pages about each of [the] poems, and mostly these are clear and patient guides to rhythm and form, allusions, their relations to the lives of their authors… They say just the right thing to make their readers turn back to the poems.—Colin Burrow, London Review of Books

The editors…[have] collected one hundred enjoyable sonnets reaching back to Thomas Wyatt and George Gascoigne, and meanwhile, providing a thorough introduction and thoroughly astute commentary on each sonnet. I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate this as a reader.—Jeannie Vanasco, Open Letters Monthly

[A] handsome collection of 100 sonnets… It is to the credit of the compilers of this fine anthology that they manage to mount persuasive (and mercifully jargon-free) arguments that even poems as idiosyncratic as [Les Murray’s] ‘Strangler Fig’ reflect the venerable and seemingly inexhaustible traditions of the sonnet.—Andrew Riemer, The Sydney Morning Herald

Innovative and intelligent… All poetry can be seen as a conversation between poets over time. In The Art of the Sonnet, the little room of the sonnet serves as an echo chamber and amplifier, allowing us to hear those voices—great and small, living and dead—more clearly than ever.—Adam Kirsch, Harvard Magazine

This is a volume of poetry and criticism that a nonspecialist could read front to back with real pleasure.—G. W. Clift, Choice

Burt and Mikics have written an illuminating text that promises many hours of reading pleasure and greater understanding of this poetic form.—Susan L. Peters, Library Journal

While this anthology would make a wonderful textbook for a prosody class, its best audience may be anyone who wants to delve deeply into the heart of poetry. Learned as well as passionate, this book is a delight.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Burt and Mikics have gathered together and composed a marvelous book. Both of them give us profound commentaries on particular sonnets and on the genre. I know of no other recent book that so steadily illuminates the riches it invokes.—Harold Bloom

Burt and Mikics have a ravishing breadth of taste and understanding. Their capaciousness allows the sonnet greater variety than its enemies (who think it old-fashioned, retrograde, and reactionary) would allow. A literary tour de force.—Willard Spiegelman, author of Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness

Awards & Accolades

  • A First Things Notable Book of 2010

Share This

Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter H. Wilson, from Harvard University Press

From Our Blog

The Burnout Challenge

On Burnout Today with Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter

In The Burnout Challenge, leading researchers of burnout Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter focus on what occurs when the conditions and requirements set by a workplace are out of sync with the needs of people who work there. These “mismatches,” ranging from work overload to value conflicts, cause both workers and workplaces to suffer