Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nets” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.92  ·  Rating details ·  263 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Poetry. "Jen Bervin has reimagined Shakespeare as our true contemporary. Her little poems sing" Paul Auster. In NETS, poet and artist Jen Bervin strips Shakespeare's sonnets "bare to the nets," chiseling away at the familiar lines to reveal surprising new poems, while pointing obliquely at the unavoidably intertextual ground of writing. Using visual compositional strategie ...more
Paperback, 150 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by Ugly Duckling Presse (first published January 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nets

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This fascinating and lovely book of erasure poems was created using the sonnets (hence the name "nets" from "sonnets"). The lines were "erased" leaving only a few words and phrases. Those remaining words form the poem.

The is not as simple as it might sound and certainly not to do well. The poems in Nets are haunting and delicate. I would quote here but the spaces not used are as important, it would seem to me, as the words that appear. The pages look beautiful, with the soft gray of the rest of
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In erasure there must be revelation, and the presentation of these fine little poems emphasizes that - black words plucked from the pale source, the sonnets set upon the creamy page with nothing on the opposite page to distract the reader.

Many of these poems stand strongly on their own. But it’s not possible for me to divorce the poems themselves from the concept and the presentation, so where some of the poems would perhaps not stand as well alone, I open my eyes wider and take in the full text
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book. Shakespeare's Sonnets are printed in halftone, and Bervin has chosen certain words and phrases to print in full, ordinary black type. So you can read the sonnet as a ghostly form "behind" the poem Bervin has created. I don't think he has made full use of the meanings of the Sonnets, but then again it's only right that his own interests, slightly constrained by Shakespeare's choice of words, Here are two examples (you have to imagine the halftone words that separate these word ...more
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Such a beautiful, simple idea, I'd wondered why it hadn't been done before. After reading Nick Flynn's The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands, I grew really interested in redactions/erasures, and at the recommendation of a coworker, I picked up Nets. Bervin has done a really masterful job pulling out new poems, and unlike a few people here, I really did think they were all high quality, beautiful pieces that could stand well on their own. (Though I'm glad to have the palimpsest behind it as well.) ...more
Elizabeth J.
A must have. Not just to read, but to own. Erasures of Wm. Shakespeare's sonnets. It does good things to the brain.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
Truly inspired. Bervin does an erasure of Shakespearean sonnets that are not erasures at all, living within the (still readable text), and jumping to the fore. The poems that result are extremely spare, but are gorgeous and thoughtful, both on their own, and as a commentary to the original. This is the kind of text that doesn't take up a lot of your time, but does absolutely incredible things with what it is. I could not possibly recommend this book enough to lovers of poetry and also to those w ...more
Erin Vance
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
Read this book first time through paying attention only to Bervin's (so to speak) text. Some great poems/lines smattered amidst other underwhelming ones. Next I went back and began re-reading by first taking in the original sonnet followed by Bervin's erasure-created piece. When viewed in that context, going from Big Willy to JB, the project as a whole was underwhelming due in part to the brevity of the pieces and in part to the fact that . . . well, it's Shakespeare. Come on.

Having felt that I
Oct 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Jen Bervin is a visual artist as well as a poet (I recommend everyone check out the Dickinson Composites, which are, as my professor called them, a "restorative translation" of Dickinson's work) and Nets is more visually stunning than it is amazing poetry. There are many poems which I quite liked, though it just didn't resonate with me as many other poems by other authors do. The whole book, however, from the cover to the type face to the bold black text rising above the wispy grey text, is beau ...more
Alyson Hagy
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I would rate this a 3.5 if I could. It's a lovely book, well-made by Ugly Duckling Presse. And the presentation of Bervin's "erasures" is beautifully designed so you can read her work and the Shakespearean sonnets that lies beneath it. I enjoyed the spare beauty of many of Bervin's erasures. Does the work linger? I'm still mulling over that question. NETS will be a great book to share with students in any genre, and I think the young writers I know who are interested in making artist's books wi ...more
Marlo Provorse
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such an incredible book that blends something borrowed with something new. I truly loved this book as it ignited such a passion in me for erasure poetry! This was the first erasure that I had been exposed to and it's meaningful simplicity impacted me super positively. I liked mulling over the idea behind the title "Nets" and what that meant in relation to the text and how Jen Bervin styled her Erasure.
Chris Schaeffer
Dec 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Everyone I know loves Nets, but I think I didn't do Bervin any favors by reading this right after Michael Leong's "The Philosophy of Decomposition/Re-Composition as Explanation." I'm always in favor or excess and wild growth as opposed to elision and effacement. Both books do really wonderful, thoughtful stuff with source, but I'm more sympathetic to the methodology of the one than to the other. Which is unfair. I'm sorry.
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Formalist poets, Poets interested in white space and line breaks
Recommended to Oscar by: Barbara Jane
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Erasures have been a popular phenomenon as of late. As a result, I expected to be more impressed by the erasure poems that managed to be professionally published rather than strewn about on tumblr. I am a strong proponent of Jen Bervin's conceptual art. I love the idea of using Shakespeare's sonNETS to create something more modern. This, however, did not quite do it for me.
William Allegrezza
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. In fact, it is one of few that I wish I could just erase the author name and add my own. I'm envious of how good this one is. The concept is great, and the erased sonnets that emerge are mesmerizing.
Aug 30, 2011 added it
Shelves: haz
Two-for-one poems! How can you go wrong? Some surprising erasures (do they technically qualify as erasures?). The layering effect of the sonnets' ghostly presence adds an interesting tone, but a good many stand out on their own as well.
Mar 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Will by: Professor Susan Tichy
Shelves: poetry
Nets is an intriguing exercise that helps to skew the line between author and audience. Where one poem was, there now are two, and they are talking to each other. And the reader is watching from behind a bush.
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful prose. The way in which Bervin derives these beautiful poems out of Shakespeare's sonnets feels genuine and unique to her, even if deletion is a popular method utilized in the modern world of poetry. A book I'd recommend to anyone, especially to a significant other.
May 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of erasures or, as Bervin puts it, "stripped" versions of Shakespeare's sonnets. The only way to quote the poems was to post photos of them. For that reason, my review is here: http://justinmarkspoetrythings.tumblr...
Erin Lyndal
Aug 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was honestly a big disappointment for me. I was into the concept of making new texts out of Shakespeare's sonnets, but the execution was weak and uninspired.
john steven
Apr 05, 2007 rated it liked it
the project's more clever than the result, but the project is really clever. worth a gander, or even a goose.
rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2012
Taylor Martin
rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2016
Rufo Quintavalle
rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2010
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2012
rated it it was amazing
Jun 25, 2013
Brian Clement
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2012
rated it liked it
Mar 08, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Poetry Readers Ch...: Nets by Jen Bervin 11 12 May 04, 2013 03:50AM  
  • A Little White Shadow
  • Radi OS
  • The Age of Huts (compleat)
  • Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems
  • Complete Short Poetry
  • Selected Poems
  • Crystallography
  • Complete Minimal Poems
  • Girls on the Run
  • My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry
  • Voyager
  • Sleeping With the Dictionary
  • The End of the Alphabet
  • New Collected Poems
  • Black Dog Songs
  • Lug Your Careless Body out of the Careful Dusk: A Poem in Fragments
  • The Irrationalist
  • Souls of the Labadie Tract
Poet and visual artist Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, archival research, artist books, and large-scale art works. Her poetry/artist books include The Dickinson Composites (Granary Books 2010), The Silver Book (Ugly Duckling Presse 2010), The Desert (Granary 2008), A Non- Breaking Space (UDP 2005), The Red Box (2004), and Nets (UDP 2004). S ...more
More about Jen Bervin...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »