Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sonnet 29

So I have been checking out a lot of YouTube videos for this post. I know we read this sonnet at the start of the semester, making me a little bit behind as far as posting goes, but I thought I would revisit it.
To me, this sonnet starts out as the ultimate "woe was me" poem. From the very first line until the ninth, the author is talking about his shortcomings. Then, after his brief stint in the "land of self-pity," he finds a ray of light in someone who loves him (the person, whether male or female, is never stated). This love brings happiness and confidence to the author. It as if the heavens have opened and he hears hymns sung from the highest. I feel that Shakespeare is trying to show the impact a person can have in the lives of others by just showing them that they care. This sonnet really impacted me the first time I read it and continues to do so now.
I found two videos on YouTube that I would like to share and since I don't know how to actually post the videos in the post through YouTube (can someone help me out with this?) I have posted the links. The first one is a recording done by Bertram Selwyn. This is a more straight forward reading. He reads the work in a very
traditional manner, showing a great respect for the traditions of the past.

The second video is a song adaptation of the same sonnet done by singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright. I think this is a very beautiful collaboration of poetic verse and musicality. Wainwright does a great job of expressing the sorrow of the poem through his vocal tonality.

With this post, I would like to ask a question. Which version do you prefer? Why?

I personally prefer the Bertram Selwyn reading because of his vocal tonality and respect for the classic.

Lastly, on a slightly unnecessary note, how sweet would it be to hear Tom Waits read or write a song to a Shakespearean sonnet? For those of you who are not familiar with Wait's work, here is a video of one of his songs entitled, "Hold On."