An enlightening and entertaining collection of the most esteemed love poems in the English canon, retold in contemporary language everyone can understand
James Anthony has long enjoyed poetry with a strict adherence to beat, rhythm, and rhyming patterns, which he likens to the very best pop songs. This drew him to the rewarding 14-line structure of Shakespeare’s sonnets, yet he often found their abstract language frustratingly unintelligible. One day, out of curiosity, he rewrote Sonnet 18—Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day—line-by-line, in the strict five-beat iambic pentameter and rhyming patterns of the original, but in a contemporary language a modern reader could easily understand. The meaning and sentiment—difficult to spot, initially—came to life, revealing new intricacies in the workings of Shakespeare's heart.
And so, James embarked on a full-time, year-long project to rewrite all 154 of the Bard's eternal verses creating SHAKESPEARE'S SONNETS, RETOLD. This collection of masterful reinterpretations brilliantly demystifies and breathes new life into Shakespeare's work, demonstrating the continued resonance of a playwright whose popularity remains over 400 years after his death. Now, the passion, heartbreak, deception, reconciliation, and mortality of Shakespeare’s originals can be understood by all, without the need to cross reference to an enjoyment-sapping study-guide. Coming with a foreword by Stephen Fry, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems made new.
Read by Paapa Essiedu, James Anthony, and Stephen Fry
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born in 1564, the son of a glove maker from Stratford-upon-Avon, and spent much of his adult life in London. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Shakespeare's poetry first appeared in 1593, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. It is unknown when he wrote each sonnet, but the collection was first published in 1609. He died in 1616, aged 52.
JAMES ANTHONY was born in 1970, the son of an engineer from Peterborough, and has spent much of his adult life in London. James cut his teeth building cars for the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham, and Shakespeare's Sonnets, Retold is his first published work of poetry. He has no aristocratic patron, but for the time being, remains very much alive. He lives in New York City with his beloved wife, Versha.