The Secret Reader: 501 Sonnets by Willis Barnstone

By Willis Barnstone

Barnstone is distinctive Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana college and a pupil, translator and poet who has written greater than forty books. Suggesting right here that formalistic poems "dance in chains" they fight to slide, he assessments sonnet buildings as he makes use of them. ideas are closed mid-line, strange end-rhymes take place and a few of those 501 choices appear sturdy brief poems instead of natural sonnets. prepared in 5 teams (History I-V), the poems represent a "public heritage and personal biography," as Barnstone notes within the introductory fabric. the non-public poems are between its most sensible: of dad and brother, suicides; mom, daughter; locations he's lived. His diversity of information informs strong social, spiritual and political observation as he writes approximately philosophers, poets (especially yet now not completely Hispanic and Chinese), demise from AIDS, Tibet, a Stone Age mummy present in a glacier and, after all, himself ("Do I harm? No. I'll be/ a will-less barn stone cool and on my own"). This prodigous attempt deals rewards to grazers and people who learn the sonnets so as.

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Too wilted by the cell. Too pale. Too wilted. But if you’d seen me before, with my hands in my pockets, and with my flowers, always with a flower in my teeth! They used to call me . . Would you like to know? It was a nice nickname: Paulo with the Flowery Teeth! And now? I’m all alone. And my girl’s dropping me. Would you have liked my girl? __________ Mona Lisa is a reflection of Marcel Duchamp’s wildest sex addictions. Mona Lisa waits for the optometrist to begin the eye exam. Mona Lisa undresses endless audiences though she is partial to 19thcentury bustles and camisoles.

You’re not Ginsberg, homie, you’re not Ginsberg. You’ve got your own Paterson, San Francisco, NYC, your own Tangiers, all them places, right here in the Valley, homie. Here, fool. Write a poem for your people in your own voice and make them sing! Just better not write anything about me, homie, because I’ll drop a set on your ass. Rudy laughed. Rudy loved to laugh. 29 11/3 Rudy doesn’t sleep. I’m afraid to ask him to leave. Afraid for so many reasons. 11/3 Caught Rudy beating off in the bathroom to a newspaper ad.

But because you’ll know a few poems by memory, you’ll think you know, but you won’t. You won’t know, because you’re just a little punk! How can Schopenhauer save us, cabrón? How? Answer me how! So remember, each time you read those so-called books of so-called literature, remember the kids around this town, remember your family, your mother, remember your religion, eres Mexicano y eres Católico, cabrón, and don’t forget that, remember your father imprisoned here by domesticity, while Gregory Corso was in Greece when years younger than I.

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