Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Essays by Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric

By Jonathan F. S. Post | Go to book overview

ONE
The Face of the Sonnet
Wyatt and Some Early Features of the Tradition
PETER SACKS

IN JOHN ASHBERY'S “GRAND GALOP” the speaker listens back across more than four hundred years to what he goes on to call “that still-moist garden where the tooting originates. ” 1

It drifts away in fragments. And one is left sitting in the yard To try to write poetry Using what Wyatt and Surrey left around, Took up and put down again Like so much gorgeous raw material. 2

Green sounds? Herbage of pre-Elizabethan songs and sonnets drifting through late-twentieth-century New York? And who is this ever-later, stillprospective poet? Ashbery's impersonal pronoun conjures one whose language, if one succeeds, will not be one's “own” but rather that used by Wyatt and Surrey. Nor do the displacements stop there, despite the word originates. Poetic language belonged to the individual early Renaissance forebears no more exclusively than it does to oneself: “Took up and put down again / Like so much gorgeous raw material. ” And by choosing poets (two rather than one) whose signature originations (the first English sonnets, hence some of the early poetic representations of voiced subjectivity in modern English language) arose as translations of prior Italian

-17-

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Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Essays by Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Green Thoughts, Green Shades *
  • Introduction - Green Thoughts, Green Shades 3
  • Notes *
  • One - Wyatt and Some Early Features of the Tradition 17
  • Notes *
  • Two - Sidney and the Sestina 41
  • Notes *
  • Three - A Curve from Wyatt to Rochester 59
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography 85
  • Four - Ben Jonson and the Loathèd Word 86
  • Notes *
  • Five - Donne's Sovereignty 109
  • Notes *
  • Six - On the Poetry of George Herbert 136
  • Notes *
  • Seven - The Invention of Personality 160
  • Notes *
  • Eight - Finding Anne Bradstreet 176
  • Notes *
  • Nine - Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle 191
  • Notes *
  • Ten - Marvelry 220
  • Notes *
  • Eleven - Rochester's Poetry 242
  • Note *
  • Bibliography *
  • Twelve - What Was He Up To? 257
  • Notes *
  • Contributors 289
  • Index 293
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