Arts

Sonnet Youth: this writer reimagines Sonic Youth album tracks as sonnets

Over the past couple of years, artist/musician/writer Jeffery Lewis has produced a wide range of DIY oddments, from cassettes to T-shirts to LP and CDs. He’s also written and illustrated a collection of zines, one series which particularly caught our eye when we came across his website.

It’s called Sonnet Youth, and it’s a reimagining of Sonic Youth albums as sonnets. And it’s awesome.

Sonnet Youth

Artist/musician/writer Jeffery Lewis has been turning Sonic Youth albums into a zine series called Sonnet Youth, with song lyrics inspiring sonnets.

For those of whom 9th grade English is but a vague memory, a sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter (see example below), which employ different rhyming schemes and adhere to a rigid thematic organisation. As you might recall, Shakespeare is most associated with the form.

So far Lewis has turned three Sonic Youth albums into sonnet zines, their 1983 debut Confusion is Sex, 1988’s Daydream Nation, and 1990’s Goo.

As his website explains:

“Each line is in iambic pentameter (the rhythm of “To BE or NOT to BE, that IS the QUEStion…”) and each poem is structured into the sonnet structure of three quatrains and a closing couplet. Naturally there’s also accompanying illustrations by Jeffrey.”

For example, here’s the complete original lyrics for the song Kill Yr Idols.

KILL YR IDOLS (original Sonic Youth lyrics)

I don’t know why / You wanna impress Christgau / Ah let that shit die/ And find out the new goal.

Kill yr idols / Sonic death / It’s the end of the world / Your confusion is sex.

And here it is in Lewis’s sonnet form:

It fills me up with anger and depression

There’s more to art than being on a list now

So why still try to make a good impression

On any music critic, even Christgau?

Leave behind all former tags and titles

Slay them with your brutal sonic force

As Nietzsche said, you have to kill your idols.

All uncertainty is intercourse

Keep skepticism strong and un-suspending

Perhaps that’s what the message of this tune is

The world you knew is coming to an ending

So kill it and embrace the crazy newness.

And kill me also, if I get too preachy.

Treat no one sacred – me, Christgau or Nietzsche.

Each of the zines comes with a reimagining of the album’s artwork and sketches alongside each track (with Shakespeare making the odd appearance or two). Check them out below and take a look at Sonnet Youth here.

Sonnet YouthSonnet YouthSonnet Youth

[via Dangerous Minds]