In a previous post, I discussed Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland’s The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology, both praising it and thinking about the ways in which this anthology both privileged the turn in the sonnet but also noting some of the ways this anthology did not quite give the turn its full due.
What a pleasure it was, then, to listen to “The Making of Sonnets,” a show on WBUR’s “On Point,” with Tom Ashbrook, originally broadcast April 1, 2008, and re-broadcast today, June 22, 2009. Mainly, it was just a pleasure to get to hear Hirsch and Boland read and discuss numerous great sonnets. However, it also was a pleasure to get to hear a discussion about a central tradition of English poetry that really and truly foregrounds the turn.
Responding to Ashbrook’s request for “a little definition: what’s a sonnet?,” Hirsch responds by noting that, while sonnets are generally difficult to pin down, they can best be considered “a fourteen-line poem, in main, with a structure that turns.” The early part of this interview,then, especially, pays a lot of attention to the turn in sonnets.
A terrific interview, for a variety of reasons. Well worth listening to for all those interested in poetry, even moreso for those interested in sonnets, and perhaps even moreso for those intrigued by the feature of the turn in sonnets. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.