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May 26, 1951

Illegitimate Sonnets.

JAMA. 1951;146(4):412. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670040112038

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This is the author's sixth book of sonnets. While he has written other books of poetry, the sonnet has taken such deep root in his mind that he now can write one without stopping to count the lines. This book acquires the name illegimate, because the sonnets do not resemble either the 8-6 original form of Petrarch nor the 4-4-4-2 model of Shakespeare. The author experiments with the sonnet, changing his models continually, as if it were plastic. In this volume, 128 sonnets are directed to various human experiences that are off the beaten path. The sonnet about a coolie who never had a shirt is a favorite:

His wishes took on a very concrete form:

He said he wanted a U. S. Army shirt.

Some men might want a ranch house or a farm,

Some a gold mine full of rich paydirt,

But all he wanted was a U.

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