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The Sonnet

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 21 June 2001

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Sonnet, the most enduring form in the poet’s armoury. For over five hundred years its fourteen lines have exercised poetic minds from Petrarch and Shakespeare, to Milton, Wordsworth and Heaney. It has inspired the duelling verse of ‘sonneteering’, encapsulated the political perspectives of Cromwell and Kennedy and most of all it has provided a way to meditate upon love.Dante Gabriel Rossetti called it “the moment’s monument”. What is it about the Sonnet that has inspired poets to bind themselves by its strictures again and again? With Sir Frank Kermode, author of many books including Shakespeare’s Language; Phillis Levin, Poet in Residence and Professor of English at Hofstra University; Jonathan Bate, King Alfred Professor of English at the University of Liverpool.

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