Resonance in Bruce Meyer sonnets

Violeta Janulevičienė, Torralbo Caballero Torralbo Caballero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines intertextual and metaliterary ingredients that resonate in the collection of sonnets “The Seasons” (2014) by a prolific contemporary Canadian poet Bruce Meyer (1957). The sonnet is hardly characteristic of contemporary poetry situation, moreover to the Canadian poetry, which has strived for innovative forms of expression. The aim of the present research is to offer a short overview of the main trends in contemporary Canadian poetry and to analyse one particular form of the traditional poetry – the sonnet – in creations of B. Meyer, tracing the resonance of classical literature structure, themes and images in them. The verse of B. Meyer’s sonnets demonstrates the quality of sound that stays clear and deep in meaning. At the time B. Meyer’s poetic career started, the standards of Canadian poetry were very different and experimental poetry prevailed. The poet wishes and strives for music in the language, his Canadian experience “to sing and to be memorable because it could be repeated”. B. Meyer tries to convince readers and general public that rhyme, meter and prosody are not evils, that the tradition of poetry form is to be valued, because the form is an extra layer of meaning. The analysis of the collection of 100 sonnets presents B. Meyer’s efforts to revive the literary genre of classic sonnet, to adapt it to contemporary times. Parallels with classical sonnets and texts of W. Shakespeare, J. Donne, G. Herbert, J. Milton, J .Swift and P. Neruda are traced in the sonnet construction techniques, literary overtones, recurrent topics and images. Love, and more specifically, marital love, theme runs through a hundred of sonnets in this collection dedicated to the poet’s wife Kerry. Inspired by the original meaning of the word “sonnet” (“a little sound”), B. Meyer transforms the poetic form into a series of portraits that record the intimate moments in the lives of two people which are equally important and meaningful to his poetry readers. B. Meyer purposefully breaks with the title giving tradition to his sonnets in line with some of his poetic predecessors. The paper focuses on the ways several creations by renowned poets resonate in B. Meyer’s sonnets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
JournalLanguage in different contexts = Kalba ir kontekstai
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016



  • Sonnet
  • Canadian poetry
  • Meyer, Bruce, 1957-

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