|Clive Hicks-Jenkins, illustration for the Cynthia sonnets.|
For various reasons, poetry volumes are frequently badly reviewed. As modern collections are loosely focused, reviewing habitually consists of picking out a few poems, saying why they are liked, and then adding some sort of value judgement on poetic themes and achievement. This method doesn't work for Renaissance volumes that are planned with structural images, for they demand that a reader has a sense of unity and reference. Perhaps, there is more to Barnfield's Cynthia than obviously meets the eye. Next post will return to Barnfield's homoerotic works of 1595.