Editor: John Wareham. New York:
Publisher:Welcome Rain Publishers
ISBN 10: 1-56649-959-3: ISBN 12: 978-1-56649-959-0.

Click Here To Purchase Sonnets for Sinners: Everything One Needs to Know About Illicit Love

Love, Life and Lust in Double Spread

John Wareham’s anthology of sonnets covers the range of amoral yearnings that have been present in the heart of (wo)men from the days of the great bard, William Shakespeare, himself up to present-day e-mail missives. Though the fears pertaining to such emotions in days of yore were more likely to relate to public exposure in the street (or playhouse), nowadays the ever-present vulnerability of such affairs is more likely to relate to having to ward off hackers on the Internet. Indeed, much salaciousness is added to this volume by John Wareham’s reworking of the (not-so-secret) love lines penned by such dethroned role models as Tiger Woods and South Carolina’s Mark Sanford, not to mention that he hardly leaves the dignity of the royal family intact, including lines penned by Prince Charles (in ecstasy) and Princess Diana (in lovelorn wrath).

Ranging from “attractions”, through “fevers”, “lamentations”, “farewells”, “endings” and “epiphanies”, Sonnets for Sinners covers the range of emotions from the onset of sensual intoxication with the aspiration towards a fruitful dalliance with the object of attraction, to its reworking in the form of a more profound transformation achieved by a spiritual awakening resulting from the internalization of such feelings. John Wareham accompanies each of the sonnets that he includes in his anthology with a witty and insightful exposé of love’s intricacy and ramifications, as well as a critique of the metaphors, imagery and structure of each poem. Each exploration of a poem (and poet’s) worth as an addition to the literary genre is concluded with an attempt at a pithy aside, much as one can imagine might be expressed when lovers such as these exit a social gathering (such as “Great fun, yes! But, oh, what about tomorrow!”).

Just sufficient background information is provided to elucidate the stance taken by poets of previous generations. Though the sonnets largely reflect heterosexual love, John Wareham is also sensitive to “the love that dare not speak its name”, including “Shame” by Alfred Douglas, for whose attentions Oscar Wilde, the renowned late Victorian/Edwardian playwright, paid so dearly.  The author also explains those literary allusions contained in the poems, with which the modern-day readership might not be familiar, such as those relating to Leda and the Swan and the unrequited love between the Nobel-Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats and Maud Gonne, an ardent Irish nationalist.      

A small volume to be treasured, though clearly brought out in time for Valentine’s Day (as even the imprint is worded accordingly), this little gem could, likewise, make an excellent anniversary gift for long-standing lovers.   

Click Here To Purchase Sonnets for Sinners: Everything One Needs to Know About Illicit Love