When one thinks of Shakespeare, what comes to mind? Be honest. Is it tights and puffy costumes or endless pages of dialogue that give you a headache as you try to understand why biting your thumb is seen as a great insult? Or even, dare we mention it, the Scottish play?
Today I am on the blog tour for #Sonnets By Lucien Young (Published 3rd October). A big thank you to the publishers Unbound for sending me a copy to review, always appreciated. And also to the lovey Anne for the invite, thank you. Right, let’s begin shall we? Ready to read Shakespeare as you’ve never read him before?
About The Author
Lucien Young is a comedy writer who has worked on various TV programmes, including BBC Three’s Siblings and Murder in Successville. He was born in Newcastle in 1988 and read English at the University of Cambridge, where he was a member of the world-famous Footlights Club.
I thought I could, with verse iambic, pry
Some sense from nonsense, and our modern scene
Depict and mock, while using “thee” and “thy”
In pages fit to rest by thy latrine.’
Shakespeare’s sonnets are among the great achievements in world literature. Alas, the immortal Bard never used his command of iambic pentameter to explore such themes as porn, Snapchat and Austin Powers.
#Sonnets is a collection of hilarious and inappropriate poems complete with illustrations of Elizabethan RoboCop and Snoop Dogg in tights. Musing on everything from Donald Trump to Tinder, comedy writer Lucien Young offers a Shakespearean take on the absurdity of modern life.
As an avid fan of Shakespeare and fellow performer of his plays, I was compelled to read Young’s take on one of the most famous historic literary figures that has ever graced our earth. Yes, some people see old Willy as the oddball that spoke funny while prancing about in tights, but you have to admit dear reader, he introduced the world to the endless possibilities that literature has to offer. He has been admired and respected throughout the world for years. Alas, as time proves, sometimes the past needs a little…updating shall we say. Thus I bring your attention to #Sonnets By Lucien Young. Upon beginning the reader is welcomed with a note from the author which charmingly sets the tone for what is to follow. It turns out that Young is a Shakespeare in his own right. He relates to todays younger generation and it’s pop culture. What’s relevant to them and the strange language they chant, hashtag I feel so old!
If music be the food of love, hit shuffle,
For I would fain the grossest glutton be
And fill mine ears continually to muffle
The outside world’s outrageous litany.
I really enjoyed this dear reader. A truly surreal experience to read about today’s trends in the form of sonnets. It was refreshing and brought new life to a dusty relic. Young most definitely has a talented way with words and uses the sonnet structure to his advantage. Along with his genius use of iambic pentameter, Young reveals to the reader just how mad the world has become. The fact that he is writing sonnets about Netflix and Pokémon is ironic as it sounds and brings a certain elegance to them that you can’t help but amusingly smile at. Good form Sir. Good form indeed.
Good friend, thou see’st this lonely seeker
His long travails, his quest to catch them all
And I am blessed that thou, dear Pikachu,
Dost rest in my unworthy Poké Ball.
I strongly believe that this collection of witty and inappropriate poems should be taught alongside Shakespeare in schools. It would not only be humorous on a subject that many young teens find tedious but would be extremely relatable to their generation. Think about it. How can we expect kids to understand the complexity that comes with studying Shakespeare when so much has changed within the time since he penned his works? It doesn’t fascinate them as they often view it as some boring guy who wrote in riddles and doesn’t talk proper like. But here, with Young’s #Sonnets it’s modern, speaks of twitter, celebrities, things that populate todays youth. Therefore allowing them to gain more of an interest and hopefully investigate further as to it’s original source material. The youth of today don’t want to hear about what’s in a name or to be or not to be because it’s alien to them. It’s not useful in their day to day lives or ‘trending’. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this daunting world of wifi tech is strangely beautiful in its own right.
Young tries to make sense of this strange world that we inhabit with Twitter, waiting a lifetime for a text reply and the unchartered territory that is Tinder. Just think, in a hundred years time WhatsApp messaging will be a unknown language to our future generations. It could probably take centuries to decipher our text speak. Lol living my best life, got to get them likes for the gram…oh god, no I can’t, apologies dear reader I love the english language too much to mock it, forgive me!
The bubble grey emerges, three small dots
Declare that thou dost fashion thy reply
And, lo, my brow is slicked, my stomach knots,
For soon thy precious words shall fill mine eyes.
I give #Sonnets By Lucien Young a Four out of Five paw rating.
A delicious twist on the old with the new. I found myself giggling throughout as I feasted upon sonnets of Doctor Who and that photo of Kim Kardashian that broke the internet. It is tongue in check humour and I highly approve. With all the craziness that is consuming the world today, dare I say it the conundrum that is Brexit, this collection of sonnets is very, very much needed and appreciated.
Thank you Young, for reminding us that there is still some poetic justice in the world.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
Hop hop wiggle wiggle