Sonnet Fever: Sonnet’s Shakespeare by Sonnet L’Abbé

In Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609), the object of desire, whether “fair youth” or “dark lady”—diseased, venereal, degrading—is erased by the poet’s own practice of representation. In Sonnet’s Shakespeare (2019), Sonnet L’Abbé uses a reverse erasure method on her namesake, cannibalizing each sonnet, absorbing them within her own prose poems that flicker with aural ghosts of the originals, retaining words in the same order within her overwriting of them. Similarly, each original sonnet’s syntax, argument, theme, iambic rhythm, pattern of imagery is reworked, worked over, metabolized, raged against, ravaged.