Day 136: Sidewalk Sonnets

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May 15, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra

I have mixed feeling about poetry.  I’ve never been terrible struck by free-verse and anything that puts rhyme on the back burner, but I’ve got to admire people able to bring tremendous new meaning to words through their delivery.  There’s something genuinely impressive by thoughts captured and stories told through elegant, well-timed, well-planned and well-spoken verse.  I’m by no means a connoisseur, but I know good poetry when I hear it.  Shakespeare is renowned for the wit he delivers not only through the written words, but through the style in which they’re heard.  Today’s project knows that good poetry is more than words arranged to fit an aesthetic mold, and is putting the words of Avon’s bard into context in the world around us.

The New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSE, up 1% today) is bringing 154 poets from 154 locations throughout New York together to read Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets.  The Sonnet Project is looking to enliven ancient verses, saving these sonnets by bringing them into a world that some (including myself, sometimes) fear has lost its ear for prose.

The Sonnet Project is a year-long internet-based, video exploration of Shakespeare’s great love poems.  We will film all 154 sonnets, performed by 154 different actors in 154 unique locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

Once recorded, they’ll release the films, three per week, throughout the coming year, capped off by the complete collection which, as well as other poetic pluses, will be made available to teachers and students and lovers of the living word.  If that includes you, and I hope that it does, then perhaps you’ll help this project cross the finish line before May 17.


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