Sandra Simonds


Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day Readers’ Choice Award for the sonnet “Red Wand”

“Most compelling about The Sonnets is its music and swagger, their depth and textures, and the singular persona these elements construct. Simonds’ gleeful manipulations of the form seem to make a declaration of the poem as a bodied thing, an assertion that it exists, suffices, and remains.” —Scout

“In her third collection, Simonds (Mother Was a Tragic Girl) takes on the venerable form and builds houses for memory in 14 lines. Though the collection’s title implies an orderliness or predictability, Simonds’ sonnets are uncaged, snarling, rooting creatures, ferreting about the mind like it’s a shoebox of memorabilia. These sonnets execute that mysterious task which only poems can: expose the connective roots of memories, objects, and beings, despite how dissonant the universe can feel: ‘The surface must be tended to/ like farmland underneath mountains that dissolve/ and erode, leaving their minerals in our bone.’ Simonds’s lines twist like DNA strands, the sequence coded yet the result unpredictable: ‘In your sonic/ boom sonnet, spaniel and dachshund will howl/ allele spirals until they breed dumb or smart, medium/ or three-legged pigeon with woof.’ Simonds playfully and powerfully writes in the recognition of every attempt at self-preservation, ‘as if there were a way to shield/ oneself from the messy galaxy of the human heart.'” —Publishers Weekly

36 in stock

SKU: SON Category: Tag:


November 2014
6 x 9, 76 pages
Trade paper original
ISBN: 978-0-9826587-7-2

On the 50th anniversary of Ted Berrigan’s and the 25th anniversary of Bernadette Mayer’s, Bloof Books is thrilled to publish The Sonnets by Sandra Simonds.

As Simonds has written, “There’s no consensus on how to do it. Does it have to have a traditional rhyme scheme? Does it need to be written in iambic pentameter? Does it have to be about unrequited love? Does it even need to be fourteen lines? Ask twenty poets these questions, and you’ll get two-hundred answers. And simply calling a sonnet a sonnet doesn’t really make it a sonnet.” The Sonnets is this poet’s exploration of the tradition, as well her testing of the (probably apocryphal) remark made by William Carlos Williams that it’s a “fascist form.”

As for the classic theme of love: “It’s easy for me to fool myself into thinking that I’m in love so sometimes I get all tangled up in love triangles, squares and octagons,” Simonds explains. “Maybe it’s a poet’s disease.… In real life relationships people are always vying for power but in the sonnet, it’s the poet and the sonnet that are in a struggle to the death. The problem is that the poet is at a huge disadvantage because the sonnet has the history OF THE SONNET on its side and almost always wins.”

Each of the sonnets here indeed has fourteen lines (and each section fourteen sonnets). Some of the poems rhyme. Most do talk of love, as it burgeons and fades. But as always with Simonds’s work, the reader should come to The Sonnets expecting to be upended.

Additional information


Simonds, Sandra