Monday, August 04, 2008

So Is It Not With Me As With That Muse

At our most recent "Arts in the Hudson Valley" Elderhostel we studied the sonnets of William Shakespeare. Much to my surprise they actually had a story to tell.

This breakthrough discovery in critical analysis apparently occurred in the past forty years. In the 1960's there certainly was no thoughtful content to distract us captive high school scholars from ferreting out the real meaning of these fourteen line poems -- namely, how many figures of speech did they have?

With promised rewards of ten points per metaphor, fifteen for a simile, and a whopping twenty-five if you found a personification or a metonymy, we eager young scholars charged like Bloodhounds past whatever thoughts, nuances, and sentiments the Master of Avon might have left on the trail in our quest for the certainty of countable contents.

What a pleasant shock to discover after all these years that these literary devices were merely tools to convey complex themes, meaningful thoughts, and deep emotions. Who knew?

It almost makes you want to emulate the man -- or at least write a haiku about trying to.

Not writing sonnets
Too hard! Got the beloved,
I'm just not a bard.

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