In a Fine Frenzy (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
In their clear and useful introduction, the editors of the anthology In a Fine Frenzy lay out their criteria for choosing the texts they have included in this collection of poems written in response to William Shakespeare. David Starkey and Paul J. Willis trace the history of such collections, explore the impulses behind them, and explain the reasons they felt that a mainly modern, mainly American anthology could show Shakespeare’s effect on the poets of this place and time.
Once they began collecting submissions, they became interested in the characters that were most often covered: Ophelia, Hamlet, Viola, Miranda, Prospero, Desdemona, Iago, Lear, Cordelia, and Horatio. They ponder reasons these characters appeal to the modern sensibility, including the idea that characters such as Ophelia represent the broadly human predicaments of modern lives, a time of disconnection and disengagement. The editors then discuss the wide variety of other ways in which poets were inspired by the bard. There are those who pay homage to the great poet and those who in some way deflate the text. There are quite a few poems that set their text in the classroom, where most people first encounter Shakespeare. Many also are musing upon the relationship between the texts of the sonnets or plays to their own lives.
Following the introduction, the editors organize the poems in a format loosely based on a play. They begin with a poem as prologue, followed by...
(The entire section is 1670 words.)
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