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Sixty Sonnets

Ernest Hilbert

Publication Year: 2009

Calculated to reflect the sixty minutes in an hour of heightened imaginative contemplation, the poems in Ernest Hilbert's first book, Sixty Sonnets, contain memories of violence, historical episodes, humorous reflections, quiet despair, violent discord, public outrage, and private nightmares. A cast of fugitive characters share their desperate lives—failed novelists, forgotten literary critics, cruel husbands, puzzled historians, armed robbers, jobless alcoholics, exasperated girlfriends, high school dropouts, drowned children, and defeated boxers. These characters populate love poems ("My love, we know how species run extinct"), satires ("The way of the human variety, / Not even happy just being happy"), elegies ("The cold edge of the world closed on you, kissed / You shut"), and songs of sorrow ("Seasons start slowly. They end that way too"). The original rhyme scheme devised for this sequence--ABCABCDEFDEFGG--allows the author to dust off of the Italian "little song" and Americanize the Elizabethan love poem for the twenty-first century. Speaking at times in propria persona ("We'll head out, you and me, have a pint"), at times in the voice of both male and female characters ("I'm sorry I left you that day at MoMA"), at times across historical gulfs ("Caesar and Charlemagne, Curie, Capone"), Sixty Sonnets marshals both trivia and tragedy to tell stories of modern America, at last achieving a hard-won sense of careful optimism, observing "the last, noble pull of old ways restored, / Valued and unwanted, admired and ignored."

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication

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Section 1. Failed Escapes

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pp. 19-

On the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of John Lennon’s Murder

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pp. 21-

Corned Beef Hash and Two Eggs Over Easy, Coffee

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pp. 22-

William James Still, Drowned in the Delaware River

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pp. 23-

Fight or Flight

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pp. 24-

She Remembers How They Fled from the Liquor Store Robbery in New Mexico

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pp. 25-

The Fugitive Spends Christmas in a Las Cruces Motel Room

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pp. 26-

Section 2. Examinations and Conclusions

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pp. 27-

Poem Begun on the Autumn Equinox

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pp. 29-

Magnificent Frigatebird

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pp. 30-

Photographs above the Desk (Amphisbaenics)

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pp. 31-

Genealogies

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pp. 32-

Mirage

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pp. 33-

History

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pp. 34-

A Suburbanite Briefs a Historian

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pp. 35-

The Pessimist Prepares for What May Well Be His Last Winter

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pp. 36-

The Retired Literary Critic Pauses in His Sunday Reading

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pp. 37-

White Noise

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pp. 38-

Dear Plato

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pp. 39-

Tourist Economy

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pp. 40-

Section 3. Legendary Misbehavior

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pp. 41-

Church Street

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pp. 43-

A Few Drinks and We’re All Poets

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pp. 44-

Cautionary Tale; or, What Goes Up Must Come Down

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pp. 45-

Up Late on a Work Night: A Lament

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pp. 46-

Coil

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pp. 47-

Improprieties

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pp. 48-

Blotter

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pp. 49-

Domestic Situation

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pp. 50-

A Sad Last Number for the Gentlemen at the Tavern

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pp. 51-

Section 4. Satires and Observations

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pp. 53-

Fortunate Ones

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pp. 55-

The Singles Scene

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pp. 56-

Prophetic Outlook

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pp. 57-

His Secret Foe: Gravity

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pp. 58-

AAA Vacation Guide

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pp. 59-

“Thou Shalt Commit Adultery”

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pp. 60-

Reality TV

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pp. 61-

Andromeda Chained to the Rock

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pp. 62-

Gold Rush (On Disposing of an Old Sofa)

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pp. 63-

Epitaphs

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pp. 64-

She Discovers an Unsent E-Mail to an Ex-Boyfriend

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pp. 65-

Guide to the Modern Man (Beach Issue!)

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pp. 66-

The Otherwise Sedentary Novelist Finds His Fantasy Turns Out All Wrong

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pp. 67-

The King Issues His Annual Report

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pp. 68-

Section 5. Small Consolations

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pp. 69-

Song

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pp. 71-

Symmetries

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pp. 72-

Letter to a Godson

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pp. 73-

Love Poem

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pp. 74-

Section 6. Literature and Related Embarrassments

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pp. 75-

Meet and Greet

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pp. 77-

Literary Artifacts

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pp. 78-

Leander Without Heroes

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pp. 79-

Rules of Order

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pp. 80-

In the Arena

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pp. 81-

Decisive Victories

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pp. 82-

The War Correspondent Returns to His Neighborhood

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pp. 83-

Thoughts upon Reading George Gissing’s New Grub Street

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pp. 84-

Section 7. Elegies and Laments

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pp. 85-

At the Grave of Thomas Eakins, Late Winter

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pp. 87-

Biglin Brothers Racing

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pp. 88-

The Ancient Sailor Leaves His Heartless Patrician Lover to Her Lyre

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pp. 89-

Nightmare

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pp. 90-

Lines on the Winter Solstice

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pp. 91-

In Bed for a Week

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pp. 92-

Calavera for a Friend

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pp. 93-

About the Author

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pp. 95-


E-ISBN-13: 9781597091893
E-ISBN-10: 1597091898
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597093613
Print-ISBN-10: 1597093610

Page Count: 88
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: First

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