Today — April 23 — marks the traditional observance of Shakespeare’s birthday. So on NRO, we have a symposium on the Bard. In particular, we ask people to pick a favorite play and explain their fondness.
Originally, we had asked them to pick a favorite “play or poem.” The (unstated) idea was to include the possibility of writing on Shakespeare’s sonnets. Yet nobody selected a sonnet. Bad memories from the inevitable sonnet-writing assignment in the 10th grade? Who knows.
Years ago, I attended a talk by Irving Kristol. The small audience was a group of young writers in Washington, D.C. He gave advice on how to build writing skills. His advice, as I recall it, came in two simple parts: Write every day (practice, practice, practice) and read good writing. He went on to give examples of what he considered to be good writing. Then he pulled out a paperback copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets. He said he carried it with him almost everywhere he went, because he could read it in bits and pieces throughout the day.