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The Complete Sonnets and Poems

4.40  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,093 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
This is the only fully annotated and modernized edition to bring together Shakespeare's sonnets as well as all his poems (including those attributed to him after his death) in one volume. A full introduction discusses his development as a poet, and how the poems relate to the plays, and detailed notes explain the language and allusions. While accessibly written, the editio ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published July 18th 2002 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published May 20th 1609)
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The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeThe Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert FrostThe Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonThe Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria RilkeThe Complete Poems by John Keats
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7th out of 275 books — 330 voters
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Goodreads Top 100 Poems of All Time
35th out of 205 books — 201 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 28, 2014 Heidi'sbooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read 15 of these sonnets to discuss with my book club. The only reason this gets 4 stars is because I didn't have the time to dig into them properly. The Bard is the best.
Rachel Brand
Read the first twenty-one sonnets for EN4341: Renaissance Sexualities: Rhetoric and the Body 1580-1660.

Shakespeare always ends up being a bit hit or miss for me. I've really enjoyed some of his plays, like Othello and Anthony and Cleopatra, but just not clicked with others, like King Lear and As You Like It. His sonnets are nice, and maybe I would have enjoyed them more if our tutor hadn't made us scrutinise them for gender references to determine whether Shakespeare was addressing a man or a w
I got this book for my birthday. Actually, I demanded this book for my birthday and I started reading it the moment I put my eyes on it. Since I started to study Shakespeare (plays and some sonnets) I have wanted to read his sonnets in order to get to know Shakespeare, the poet and not only Shakespeare the playwright. I was mostly interested in his sonnets as I said but this edition has two additional narrative poems and some other poems that were supposedly written by Shakespeare.
The notes on t
G.D. Master
May 22, 2015 G.D. Master rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academics, poets, professional writers, secondary students
Shakespeare’s sonnets, all 154, are a must have for anybody academically or professionally involved with the English language. Shakespeare’s sonnet form is a mechanical staple for poets. With its three rhyming quatrains and couplet ending, the Shakespearian sonnet lends itself well to formal argumentation: claim, premises, inference, and conclusion. Many of the poems argue for a young man to quit squandering his life away and find a woman to love and procreate with. Other sonnets muse on love, w ...more
Wes Zickau
I still don't understand why Shakespeare is placed on a pedestal above all other literary geniuses. There is no doubt he was one, but why did I feel as though I needed to give this collection an obligatory 5 stars?

This is not to say he isn't worth reading. He is. But do away with this unfounded -and apparently popular- faith in the infallibility of his craft. The cliche "It's not Shakespeare" reveals Shakespeare as the popular standard, the pinnacle, the golden mean, the epitome of literary gre
Nov 22, 2008 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I never thought much about Shakespeare, or really tried to investigate his writing beyond the plays I was forced to read, which is a shame. His sonnets are lovely, and some of them are supremely clever. I love the inversions in sonnet 130, for example, and the sting in the tail of sonnet 18, "shall I compare thee to a summer's day"...
Angela Alcorn
The complete works of Shakespeare (including all the plays, sonnets and poems) are available free to read/download/print here:
Jun 01, 2007 Nika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakeseareanyone
My mom gave me a book like this. I read a few of them. 17 is nice shall I compare thee to a summers day...yall know that one...right?
This is not strictly the edition I have, and edition DOES matter in Shakespeare, of course. But I think it's very nearly identical, except for the different cover. The edition I have is not the 'Dover' but the 'Dover THRIFT' edition. It advertises that it's 'Unabridged'.

I don't know if this only means that it contains all the sonnets, or if it means that the critical material is also unabridged from the pictured edition.

Said critical material consists of a short introduction, which gently questi
May 31, 2008 Lauren rated it really liked it
These can easily put anyone in a good mood!

I feel terrible for giving something by WILLIAM FRIGGIN' SHAKESPEARE anything less than five stars, but I just ain't feelin' it with his sonnets. Now, Shakespeare's plays are always a treat when I get myself in the proper mindset for Elizabethan English, but with these sonnets I feel like I'm chipping at concrete with a pickax. I know there are hidden meanings and philosophical musings on love, friendship, time, and death under there...but I just can't get at it! I honestly feel like a
Oct 14, 2012 Cherylann rated it liked it
Shakespeare has always held a fascination over me. They mysteries about his identity, gender, and sexual orientation made him (or her) an object of further reverence. His writings are fantastic in both plot and execution. I have only ever read his plays, so delving into his sonnets was a much different Shakespeare experience for me. I never had been told that Shakespeare’s first twenty sonnets are actually addressed to a man. At first I was thrilled, there goes the sexual orientation mystery. Ho ...more
Rao Javed
Dec 19, 2013 Rao Javed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poem
"From fairest creatures we desire increase.
That thereby beauty rose might never die
But as the riper should by the time decrease
His tender heir might bear his memory"

What as charismatic journey it has been that has delighted my heart with overwhelming envisage! I have been keen to admire the worth of Shakespeare and I always will because he always menages to impart all those poignant, dismal, remarkable, foil and melancholy expressions of life that always use to linger in mind but were never t
Don Heiman
May 03, 2015 Don Heiman rated it it was amazing
Shakespeare's Poems and 154 sonnets were written in the 1590s and reflected his views about love, honor, time, and laments. They provide insights about many themes as well as plot lines in his 37 plays . The poems and sonnets were dedicated to people who helped fund his plays and productions. Many poems and sonnets were written between 1592-4 when plague forced London theaters to close. Shakespeare used this time to write and reflect on the social movements of his time.
Jul 18, 2015 Karin rated it liked it
With such a number of unique works, it is hard to paint a portrait of this volume. Some I loved and some were meh. Some felt poignant and sincere and sweet, while others felt like hastily drafted pop culture writings that were guaranteed to sell.
As for the poetry, the Rape of Lucrece made me downright mad. I suspect that is because of the many news stories about rape culture. The thought that called me slightly was the idea of an artist striving to evoke an emotional response from their audience
Aug 14, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
This was left over from my literature studies in undergrad, and I've been slowly making my way through all of the poems in the intervening years. The sonnets are mostly wonderful, but I was not as much a fan of the longer poems (which I only read recently).
Jun 19, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good, complete collection of Shakespeare's poetry. The longer poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, were good reads, which I attributed the editors' introductions in providing background and historical information, and I enjoyed "Let the Bird of Loudest Lay" ("The Phoenix and the Turtle"), but I wish more could have been written on it. Originally an epilogue, "To the Queen" was a short, easy read. However, I didn't care for The Passionate Pilgrim or "A Lover's Complaint," the former ...more
James Bruce
Aug 30, 2015 James Bruce rated it it was amazing
The Bard. Nuff said. But I do know Shakespeare more through his sonnets than his plays, though I've read many of his plays. (and thoroughly enjoy them)
Dec 30, 2011 Tori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poems
Ahhh. I am developing a real love for the works of William Shakespeare. It's so... beautiful. Emotional. Lyrical (well duh, it's poetry. But I mean in general right now.) <3

With his Sonnets, I've gotten into the habit of pacing the room as I read, occasionally reading a line or two out loud. It just, I don't know, feels right. I can't really explain why.

Now, I'm not really a poetry reader. I'm sure reading twenty pages of sonnets at a time is probably not the correct way to do it. But it was
Kimberley doruyter
i love shakespeare.
one of my fav sonnets is 17, just for that last line it's beautiful.
Ning Soro
Aug 25, 2007 Ning Soro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
back in highschool when all of my classmates go-gaga over the new adaptation of romeo&juliet with leonardo dicaprio as the new age romeo with 45 cal. for a sword...they were all quoting the lines of the play...i joined the wave...but on my own secretly i kept my copy of the complete sonnets of shakespeare...its not the same copy shown was old and the pages were yellow...then came when we have to do the sonnets..I LOST MY COPY...lucky me when i was in college i got a sweet deal..i go ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very clear edition with helpful introduction and notes.
David Lipely
Feb 03, 2015 David Lipely rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed all of these!
M.I. Lastman
Jan 27, 2015 M.I. Lastman rated it it was amazing
No poetry is finer.
Nov 14, 2011 David rated it really liked it
I haven't worked my way entirely through all the poems, but I was moved to start by remembering the very powerful and enigmatic effect the poem 'Let the Bird of Loudest Lay' exerted on me when I was beginning to explore literature. It was most interesting and rewarding to revisit the poem, assisted by the notes, and to read some of the others for the first time, such as 'The Rape of Lucrece' and the wonderfully overwrought 'Venus and Adonis'. I'm sharpening my poetry pickaxe and climbing the son ...more
Mike Jensen
Oct 25, 2009 Mike Jensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review is based on the sonnets only, which I had to read to count the classical allusions of all things. Burrow's edition has a stellar reputation, and having read the sonnets, his glosses, and his full and complete introduction, I agree with all the hype. This is the best edition of the sonnets that I have read or can imagine. Thoroughly informed and informative, the sonnet pages are all that you can hope for. I look forward to reviewing other portions of Burrow's fine edition someday.
Márcio Sobrinho
Ainda tenho a lembrança da primeira vez em que li um soneto de Shakespeare, com seu dístico final me parecendo totalmente sem graça, simplesmente pelo costume dos sonetos italianos. Mas a estranheza inicial passou... Esta edição é singular pela tradução do falecido poeta português Vasco Graça Moura, feita em decassílabos, à maneira d'Os Lusíadas: a todo tempo ela sublinha, até mesmo pelo vocabulário, a semelhança maneirista entre o bardo inglês e o lusitano, homens de uma mesma época.
Jun 09, 2009 Beyle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read these sonnets from the perspective of book history. However, the recurrent themes of immortality and time are interesting from the perspective of how Shakespeare might have given his consent to have these sonnets published. Of course, there are many conflicting theories about how these poems came to be and to whom they were written. Perhaps Shakespeare did not write these for any particular person, but rather, to secure his own immortality through his poetry.
Jul 04, 2014 Mii rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read!
A completely blank edition with no footnotes, guides to get into the poetry. Just the fairly modernised sonnets. Yet, Shakespeare is magic.
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  • The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose
  • The Major Works
  • John Keats: The Major Works: Including Endymion, the Odes and Selected Letters
  • The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Poetry (Norton Critical Editions)
  • Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays
  • The Shorter Poems
  • Robert Browning's Poetry
  • Great Sonnets
  • The Complete Poetry
  • The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • The Age of Shakespeare (Modern Library Chronicles)
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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