Wednesday, 20 May 2009

1609 + 400 = 2009 + 14/154

The dodgy mathematical statement above is inspired by the fact that BBC Radio 3 is today celebrating Sonnet Day, in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare's immortal collection of 154 fourteen-line poems.

During the course of today the station's output has been interspersed by readings of a varied selection (fourteen, natch) of the Bard's extraordinary reflections on love, loss, life, death - the whole big thing, in fact.

The reader is that tip-top, and very brainy, thesp Sir Ian McKellen.

Mr Gnome approves - and not only because he happens to be roughly the same height as a sonnet in a standard print setup.

So much so that he has issued a challenge to the Human Being (aka moi) to do a little more than to download these texts and recordings on to his computer.

Given that a poem is the only work of art that one can store on one's personal in-brain hard drive - the memory - I've decided to memorise all of the sonnets chosen for today's readings. And I've set myself the target of doing so by the end of 2009.

Fear not, one has no intention of inflicting impromptu readings on one's nearest and dearest - or on total strangers, for that matter.

To be truthful, I have a teensy bit of start on myself - somehow or other I already have Sonnets 18, 29, 60 and 116 under my belt. So, ten sonnets and 140 lines to go....

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