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Review of MacSonnetries by Jameela Muneer

MacSonnetries: The Buds of May be by Petra Reid | Scotland Street Press, 2018 (2017)
— chosen by Jameela Muneer, teacher, solicitor, writer, and would-be ukulele player

I loved Petra Reid’s MacSonnetries: The Buds of May be, a witty sequence of 154 sonnets, with a contemporary postmodern twist. Each sonnet stands alone: the May be after the Buds suggests a joyful irreverence. Each poem is a response to Shakespeare’s original. It employs the Golden Shovel method, maintaining the Bard’s line endings in every sonnet. I did not immediately notice this at first reading: the structure is unobtrusive. Reid glides effortlessly over the social, political, cultural, and ideological mores of our times. The imagery of social media, computers and artificial intelligence, is juxtaposed humorously with Shakespeare’s concerns over procreation, jealousy and mutability. One of my favourite lines from Sonnet 65 becomes ‘Since jobs, nor shifts, nor hours, nor rising sea’ — I laughed out loud, not resenting the liberty taken by Reid. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 2 provokes the nonchalant feminist response that fillers can produce ‘baby bum smooth skin’; seventy-year olds can look like twenty somethings nowadays. Elsewhere there are references to Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall: ‘she will make him last for ever’. Madonna, Nigella, and domestic goddesses also get a mention. I relished the online dating advice: ‘only post your happy’ bits because ‘bingo wings selfies so cruelly show’, as well as ‘how to drop that sinful extra stone’. Subprime mortgages, non-Doms in London, Kim Kardashian and Tinder with Toy-boys are all covered. Finally, Shakespeare’s Sonnets104, 105, rendered into Scots, reveal Reid’s skill in this medium too. This erudite versatile collection offers the double pleasure of rereading Shakespeare, and Reid’s responses, separately, or side by side.

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Freedom Found Reviews & Newspaper Articles

The cover story from the Herald Magazine (25.2.2017) can be found here.
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Read the articles from the Sunday Times (26.2.2017) below or by clicking here.

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This is the story of a remarkable relationship between two people who, in their different ways, have made significant contributions to the enhancement of the human spirit.  From utterly different backgrounds, they sustained a partnership for nearly 20 years in which they were enabled to explore hidden gifts and to pursue unique pathways towards greater personal freedom and creativity.

This beautifully written memoir, however, is much more than the poignant history of a relationship.  It is a courageous attempt to describe the journey of a soul in its commitment to plumbing new depths of truth in the search for the inner freedom for which at some level we all yearn.   With searing honesty Sara Trevelyan has described a quest which has involved intense joy and excruciating pain in almost equal measure.  As someone who at a significant moment entered into her story with explosive results, I approached this book with some trepidation.  Such apprehension was not misplaced.  Sara’s account demonstrates that when we tap into the divine energies within ourselves and each other, we are likely to be launched on a pilgrimage which takes us into places of agonising loneliness and also into the contrasting terrain of indescribable ecstasy.  There are frequent temptations to abandon the journey altogether but fidelity to the quest can lead to the greatest joy that human beings can ever experience.  To read this memoir is to be given glimpses of that joy and perhaps to find the courage to face the dangers and the pain which inevitably await the determined spiritual seeker.

Brian Thorne
Co-founder, The Norwich Centre for Personal, Professional
and Spiritual Development; Lay Canon, Norwich Cathedral