Twenty-one Sonnets


Our class will explore, via close reading and discussion, twenty-one sonnets by William Shakespeare, three each week. The goal is to have fun together unpacking what W.H. Auden calls “verbal contraptions.” Our first week will be a quick exploration of the sonnet form and its conventions; in subsequent weeks we’ll dig into how Shakespeare brilliantly manipulates language, form, and content to create these verbal works of art. Most weeks, the chosen sonnets will have something thematic in common–lust and love, of course, but also time and mutability, immortality, and the power of art.



Required Reading:

Any text of The Sonnets will do. Many forms are available online (e.g., Shakespeare’s Sonnets,

About the Instructor

John Haile has taught Shakespeare (including the Sonnets) for many years at the secondary level.




John Haile



9:30-11:00 a.m.
8-week course begins Feb. 5 and ends April 1 (no class on March 4)



Class meets on Zoom.