I’ve recorded Sonnet 72 (my personal favourite) and started something called The Sonnet Project: a spreadsheet that anyone with the link can edit, where we can compile links to online recordings of every one of Shakespeare’s sonnets. If each person reading this adds just one recording to this list, or records just one sonnet reading of your own, we’ll complete the list. Let’s do this!
[UPDATE 2015-04-03] I’ve just learned that the New York Shakespeare Exchange has their own sonnet project called (wait for it) The Sonnet Project, which includes video recordings of Shakespeare’s sonnets performed across the city’s five boroughs. (The Globe Theatre site is a better access point than the project’s own; it describes the project as “a tapestry of cinematic art that infuses the poetry of William Shakespeare into the poetry of New York City.”)
If you record your own (and are in my English 205, where this project started), please post it to SoundCloud and tag it #engl205 to add to our list there. And (to my students), be sure to submit your work using the activity form, if you’re looking for badge credits.
Sister dear of lapis lazuli wishes,
Made from cloudless azure tinted washing,
Cerulean chilled waves crashing kisses
Smoothing stone of tourmaline and grieving.
Sister dear of shard and ruby flames so
Bright, on sparking wet stone sharpens fork tongue,
Words of fire and garnet lashing below,
Traitors, liars, thieves all carved too young.
Sister dear of true obsidian snow,
Faded onyx made from bone and steel with
Jaded fingers twisting jet, the heart crow
Engraved, hammered swift as falling sleet myth
Sisters dear of Onyx, Lapis, Ruby
Each hold fast your thread come winter to be.
[Only after I wrote it did I realize I mixed up the order of stressed syllables and unstressed syllables, but I liked it and decided to publish it all the same.]
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 113, there is repetitive references to ones mind. Highlighted in Voyant, Shakespeare uses the word “mind” to repeatedly express the hinderances he has felt since leaving his beloved. Highlighting “mind” allowed me to understand the importance of how his inner struggle has effected his perceptions of the outer world. Shakespeare also as shown below, uses the word “mind” once at the begging, middle, and as well as the end. This enhances the importance of such word as it progresses throughout the entire sonnet.
Although Shakespeare makes numerous references towards his sight and its relation to his mind, Voyant only draws on exact word repetitions. This caused somewhat of a hinderance to my analysis, as Volant does not draw on similar words, only ones that are completely the same. When Shakespeare writes “For if it see the rudest or gentlest sight,” the words do not come up in relation to “eye” due to the fact they are not the exact word. This created some discrepancies when using Voyant, as is does not show all relative or related words.
Shakespeare makes constant references to the disconnection his sight and mind; “mine eye is in my mind,”, exemplifying that since he left, his eye is not reflecting that of which he is really seeing, but that of which his mind wants him to see. He also instates “Nor his own vision holds what it doth catch :”, once again exemplifying how his vision is disconnected from that is which he is really seeing.
One issue I found when using Voyant to analyze my text was the highlighting of the words such as “the” or “it”. Although there are quite a few repetitions of these words, they prescribe no relevance to major themes or symbols within a piece.
To study texts in solitude,
births tears anew in morning’s wake.
Since work doth not improve my mood,
I think I’d rather eat this cake.
To check my grades on d2L
would surely break my spirit strong.
My sober clicks land me in hell;
my study habits have been wrong.
And so, I promise to myself
My time shall not be turn’d to waste.
My head, it slams against against my shelf
I scold myself: “I must make haste!”
Though, three more tranquil days of freedom do, somewhat, console me;
for my green-eyed friends, but two remain—I’m smirking at their jealousy.
I had some spare time.
My corn snake is pink with reddish eyeballs.
She slithers around on her long belly.
The fam’ly bird is loud and often calls.
Her body is blue, her name is Jelly.
My robo hamster died, her name was Chell.
She had long whiskers and black, beady eyes.
Scooter, the sickly mouse, did die as well.
Beneath the purple lilac bush he lies.
Fluffball, our cat, lives with grandmother now.
He used to pee on our good furniture.
Our minnow, Christine, lived for eight years. How?
I don’t know. Nothing rhymes with furniture.
I won’t go on, or I would be remiss;
I forgot where I was going with this.