I first fell in love with the Sonnets in the summer of 2013, when a friend of mine decided to post one Sonnet to Facebook every day for 154 days in the run-up to Christmas.
To me it became obvious that these Sonnets are Shakespeare's most personal, most intimate, most immediately revealing work, that far from being "sugar'd" or sweetly romantic, they cover a vast range of his private and professional ups and downs, expressing rage, frustration, jealousy, loneliness, despair at the passing of time, and deep confusion, as much as love and admiration, and I also felt I could detect in them an at least plausible, chartable story.
Fully aware that everything is conjecture, except the words – as I put it in the tagline – and that almost everything about these Sonnets, not least the degree to which they can be regarded as biographical, is hotly disputed, I wrote a play, The Sonneteer, which together with actor Tom Medcalf and director Ros Philips I took to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014. It incorporates about two dozen of Shakespeare's Sonnets and imagines a possible course of the relationship between the poet and The Fair Youth.
Since then, I've recorded all of the Sonnets on YouTube and also created the Saturday's Sonnet video blog, which selected one Sonnet each week to look at in more detail.
What I want to do with this podcast now is celebrate all these Sonnets afresh, pursuing very much the approach I adopted previously: listen to the words and find out what they actually tell us. They tell us a lot, if we listen carefully, and the joy of working with them is such that I am going one step further than I did before.
For this podcast I am learning all of the Sonnets by heart. I am not just reading them, I am really internalising them to get to their essence as much as I possibly can.
And so, whether you are new to the Sonnets and up for a journey of discovery, or whether you already love them as much as I do – or a bit less, or a lot more – be invited to join me, starting September 2022.
Details and links to individual episodes will feature on the homepage of this website as soon as they become available. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about me, you can find out everything that's worth reading or watching at sebastianmichael.com, and if you have any questions, suggestions or indeed corrections, do please get in touch. And if you wish to donate towards the project, you can do so here. Many thanks!
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Love & Let Love