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Bernard Kangro sonetipoeetika
Bernard Kangro’s Sonnet Poetics

Author(s): Rebekka Lotman
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: Bernard Kangro; Estonian poetry; sonnet; verse theory; poetics; autometadescription

Summary/Abstract: the article is focused on Bernard kangro’s sonnet poetics as revealed in both his theoretical writings and poetry. kangro’s Eesti sonetiajalugu („History of the Estonian sonnet”, 1938) is unique not only for being the only monograph on the Estonian sonnet, but also for its comprehensive approach: according to the author a comprehensive analysis of all sonnets available in a certain language leads to a better understanding of the genre. kangro’s master’s thesis on the history of the Estonian sonnet was written immediately after the publication of his first collection Sonetid („sonnets”, 1935), containing also a reaction to the criticism of his oeuvre. One of the objects of the criticism was kangro’s imperfect rhyme, as previously the Estonian verse theory had treated the sonnet as a rigorous form strictly following the rules of its Italian counterpart, including perfect rhyme. this way B. kangro managed to extend the concept of sonnet simultaneously in his poems and his historical treatise. Later, Bernard kangro continued experimenting with his sonnet poetics. as a whole his sonnet production can be divided into five periods: 1) His first collection Sonetid („sonnets”) containing Italian sonnets using a iambic pentameter, imperfect rhyme, rich vocabulary and abundant enjambments; 2) English sonnets featuring a iambic pentameter, narrow poetic lexicon and trite rhymes; 3) a peculiar crown of sonnets, with two lead sonnets, using accentual verse and no rhyme; 4) texts with no rhyme or accentual verse, but with a sonnet structure bent to match the themes and motifs at hand, as a result of which the idea is enhanced (evidence of autometadescription). 5) Oktoobri sonetid („sonnets of October”, 1991) is a collection of poetic prose containing no sonnets at all. Curiously enough the collection where (according to the preface) the author seeks a maximal distance from that rigorous form has been titled as sonnets. this association invites the reader to perceive the texts not just as poetic prose but as sonnets disinvested of their traditional garment. In his monograph of 1938 kangro states that, sadly enough, his experimenting with the sonnet has failed to reform it. However, although his later variations did not reform the sonnet as a genre, his transcendence of its strict formal boundaries managed to provide his own poems with some additional dimensions of potential interpretation.

  • Issue Year: LIV/2011
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 81-95
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Estonian