Borges & Other Sonnets

Borges & Other Sonnets

Borges & Other Sonnets

Borges & Other Sonnets

Synopsis

"Borges" and Other Sonnets will come to be identified as one of the spearhead books of the new literary movement being fostered by the American sonnet. William Baer's keen sense of history and popular culture gives his vernacular style an authority that excites as it interests. His wide range of themes accommodates sonnet sequences, as well as individual sonnets of striking episodic force. The sonnet, as we know, rewards technique, and Baer's lyrical deftness handles the "argument" of sonnetry and the "grammar" of its structure with assured control, and a complete absence of routundity, that great sin of all fixed forms. Even the variety of his pieces is clearly in the grand tradition, as a look at some of the titles will show: "Adam," "Job," "Crime Scene," "Pumpkin," "Secret Police," "Snowflake," and so on. William Baer has given us a collection of fifty-five sonnets that succeeds in being urgent, amusing, instructive, and moving -- a heady mix.

Excerpt

So what did Borges think when he first learned
that Camões dueled and beat a Borges (who
collapsed in the bloody street) when he returned
back home to Lisbon in 1552?
Maybe he said, “Ah, blades, of course, why not?”
Or maybe, he wished that it was him in the heat
of the fight, self-assured and fearless, hot
to wield his sword, gracious in defeat.
Admitting, “If a Borges has to lose,
it’s best to lose to this crazy Senhor
Camões”—even this young one, flush with booze,
this one-eyed no-account, long before
the sonnets, long before the going mad
in Goa, and long before the Lusiad.

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