“What is a sonnet*?” You may remember the term from high school English class and that it relates to a specific type of poetry. Or you may be familiar with the sonnets of Shakespeare. Both would be a good place to start with this collection of vibrant verses.
Sonnets of Love and Joy captures deep emotion and profound observations in just a few short stanzas per sonnet. The collection is divided into five basic sections: Love of Another, Love and Loss, Joy of Family and Friends, Joy of Nature, and The Joy of Children. Redolent with emotion and keen observation, each section can stand alone in strength and sagacity. But together in one book, this collection of sonnets is graceful and creatively contemplative. Stand-out sonnets include Four of Us, Oldest Friend, Harmonies, To See the Splendor, Together on a Snowy Path, A Stirring in the Soil, Moments with My Grandchild, and Recess. My personal favorite is Pup in Heaven.
The author’s command of the language is impressive and vast. There’s also an openness and a vulnerability to many of the sonnets that will draw readers in with a “You Are There” kind of flavor.
The writing style is intelligent, sensitive, and incandescent. Coupled with a robust vocabulary and a knack for creating vivid word pictures that virtually jump off the page and into your head and heart, this collection of sonnets is quite an achievement.
The author packs a wide variety of emotion into some spare rhythms of verse: Loss and sorrow, anguish and loneliness, love and joy, hope and harmony, wisdom and wonder. This is no mean feat. It requires great writing discipline and skill. But Buchheit pulls it off ably and well. (A familiarity with Shakespeare’s sonnets is helpful but not required.)
At less than one hundred pages, Sonnets of Love and Joy can easily be read in an afternoon, preferably in front of a crackling fire with a hot cuppa. But this is not a book to be hurried. Or gulped down in a single sitting. It’s a thoughtful work that’s meant to be sipped and savored slowly, like fine wine. Indeed, readers are likely to return again and again for additional helpings of this finely crafted collection.
Sonnets of Love and Joy would make a great stocking stuffer or gift for that hard-to-buy-for bookish person on your Christmas list, especially if they’re looking for something fresh and original.
*A “sonnet” is a poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line.