Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and also the day that we seem to have settled on as his birthday, although that’s mostly because it makes a nice story. He wasn’t famous at the time of his birth, and they weren’t as thorough at keeping records then as now, so we realy don’t know.
Anyway, his birthday provides an excuse for me to plug one of my own books: 155 Sonnets. Of course, I’ve never written any plays, so this is the one area where I’ve exceeded him, and only in raw numbers, although I do feel that my sonnets are pretty good. At any rate, they are all genuine sonnets, which use iambic pentameter, have the right number and distribution of lines, one of the three acceptable rhyme schemes, and a clear point at the end.
It’s available on Amazon, or on Kindle, but for every real, paper copy sold through Amazon I will donate $2 to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. It’s a win-win-win. You get a great book, 155 gems of poetic wisdom, some money will go to a good cause, and I’ll get some sales.
Let me include here the first sonnet in the book, which was also one of the first written, I think about 1992. Apparently, at that time, we were using the date of April 14th as his birthday, because that is the title of the poem. There’s one other way in which the world has changed greatly since then. You’ll see it in the poem:
The modern world calls out for modern words
and modern words fall into modern rhymes
the message from the medium is inferred
the words we choose speak plainly of our times
While singing songs of post-industrial gloss
Our Rock and Rappin’ rhythms seem to fit
Yet truth is truth the universe across
and love and beauty haven’t changed a bit
Five billion people people now the Earth
live lives of jubilation and despair
Four more than at the time of Shakespeare’s birth
Yet, I can’t think of one I would compare
For language, so expressive and sublime
He speaks to us across the space of time