Like a Copland symphony or a de Kooning nude, an American sonnet marries European artistic tradition to New World innovation and imagination. Here, in this unique Library of America anthology, critic David Bromwich presents 161 sonnets and sonnet sequences by 56 of our most accomplished poets, revealing a surprisingly supple verse form that has proven an irresistible invitation to experiment and excellence for American poets. This volume, the 25th in the American Poets Project series, offers an unprecedented portrait of the American sonnet, including work by such poets as Longfellow, Jones Very, Poe, Millay, Berryman, and Robert Frost. Arranged chronologically from the colonial period to the present, this rich and beguiling collection serves as a sort of mini-survey of American poetry.
“There was no good reason for the sonnet to be reborn in America,” observes Bromwich in his introduction, “except that the thoughts and feelings of poets turned out to be renewable under this aspect, close as the form is to aria and aphorism and syllogism, closer still to prayer.” American Sonnets reveals some of our greatest poets experimenting with - and changing forever - a grand poetic tradition.