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40 Sonnets

Don Paterson

WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA POETRY AWARD. A new collection from the award-winning and much-loved poet.

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40 Sonnets is the new collection by Don Paterson, a rich and accomplished work from one of the foremost poets writing in English today.

This new collection from Don Paterson, his first since the Forward prize-winning Rain in 2009, is a series of forty sonnets. Some take a more traditional form, some are highly experimental, but what these poems share is a lyrical intelligence and musical gift that has been visible in his work since his first book of poems, Nil Nil, in 2009.

Addressed to children, friends and enemies, the living and the dead, musicians, poets and dogs, these poems display an ambition in their scope and tonal range matched by the breadth of their concerns. Here, voices call home from the blackout and the airlock, the storm cave and the séance, the coalshed, the war, the ringroad, the forest and the sea. These are voices frustrated by distance, by shot glass and bar rail, by the dark, leaving the ‘sound that fades up from the hiss, / like a glass some random downdraught had set ringing, / now full of its only note, its lonely call . . .’

In 40 Sonnets Paterson returns to some of his central themes – contradiction and strangeness, tension and transformation, the dream world, and the divided self – in some of the most powerful and formally assured poems he has written to date.

Critic Reviews

Thrillingly varied ... [Paterson is] an immensely skilled poet of craft and restraint, who speaks with a stunning lyrical voice. Reading this collection, you feel lucky to be alive while Paterson is writing about our world ... he deserves to win every prize going.

Charlotte Runcie, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

A poet of genius.

Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
Critic Reviews

'Don Paterson's 40 Sonnets is what it says but more: variety in fourteen lines, and a wicked chunk of prose. He makes you laugh, or fall silent for minutes before you read it again.'

Tom Stoppard, TLS, Books of the Year
Critic Reviews

'Don Paterson finds more room in the sonnet than you'd find in some novels and strides through the ages, marrying craft to grain in 40 Sonnets.'

Jackie Kay, Observer, Books of the Year
Critic Reviews

'40 Sonnets breathes audacious vivacity into an ancient format, showing that poetic structures are no impediment to emotional intensity.'

William Boyd, New Statesman, Books of the Year
Critic Reviews

Buy it and read it and go on reading it. Not a foot wrong.

Candia McWilliam, The Herald, Books of the Year

Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. His poetry has won many awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, all three Forward Prizes and, on two occasions, the T. S. Eliot Prize. He was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2009. He is Professor of Poetry at the University…

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