Thoughts Sublime, edited by Deborah L. Halliday

Even though my B.A. focus is in English, I was never much of a fan of poetry. (I know, shame on me). Recently, though, I’ve immersed myself in reading sonnets written by my friend Deborah L. Halliday, a journey that has brought me to appreciation of sonnets’ cadences and how, as Deb puts it, thoughts are carried over several lines and compels us to wait for resolution.

Deb has edited several collections of sonnets, all gleaned from the nineteenth century magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book. They are a treasure. Thoughts Sublime is one of those collections.

For several decades during the nineteenth century, Godey’s Lady’s book was the premier American magazine, at its peak reaching 150,000 subscriptions. Initially, like most other magazine publishers of the day, Godey simply re-published material (copyright was not as strong as it later became), with a bit of new material. Soon, though, he broke new ground by publishing only new material, and with his hiring of Sarah Josepha Hale (she of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” fame), his publication took off.

Notable among its fare, Godey’s Lady’s Book featured poetry, including hundreds of sonnets. Thoughts Sublime is one of several volumes of sonnets collected by editor Deborah L. Halliday. Halliday spent years amassing bound volumes of the magazine, combing through them for sonnets, studying them and formatting them into cohesive collections. Most are grouped by topic: mourning, seasons, love, death. Others are an assortment of topics. Thoughts Sublime falls into the latter category.

Thoughts Sublime succeeds in the title’s promise. It is a lovely assemblage of sonnets, a slim volume of eighty-two poems from more than forty writers, offering myriad pieces to dip into and enjoy and upon which to reflect. In addition, Deborah Halliday’s brief Introduction is chock full of interesting information about the magazine, sonnets, and the editing process. It alone is worth the small price of the book. Halliday is a born teacher.

Highly recommended.

About connieciampanelli

I am the administrator of this page on behalf of our book club. I retired from La Salle Academy after serving as a secretary in The Admission and School/College Counseling offices to a total of fourteen years. A lifelong avid reader with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, Major in English, I read as I breathe, meaning reading is like the oxygen that keeps me alive.
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