Imaginary Sonnets Imaginary Sonnets

Imaginary Sonnets


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Publisher Description

In Daniel Galef’s Imaginary Sonnets, a cast of people and objects from mythology, history, the news, and the quotidian parades through a variety of imaginative scenarios. In dialogues, dramatic monologues, satires, lamentations, eulogies, and execrations, the sonnets adopt perspectives ranging from the familiar to the novel to the twisty and surprising. Characters include not only widely known figures such as Cassandra, Pandora, St. Augustine, Byron, and Doris Day, but also obscure ones such as Henrique of Melacca, John Taurek, Emmett Till’s father, and—more startling—a salmon, a snowflake, and a pair of parallel lines. Imaginary Sonnets entertains and entrances with every turn of the page.


I love sonnet sequences, and Daniel Galef has written a rollicking collection that is alive with wit, intelligence, and wild imagination, as in the poem of unrequited love between two parallel lines. If you want to know what Cézanne has to say, not to mention Cassandra, Alcibiades, and “Parmenides to Doris Day,” then dig into this cornucopia of crazy, formal fun.

— Barbara Hamby, author of Holoholo

Daniel Galef’s sonnet cycle is a rare feat of empathy, wit, style, and (as the title hints) imagination. I’m thankful to have this book, in which the messy overlaps of life are somehow illuminated in work of astonishing, clear-eyed discipline.

— Jack Pendarvis, author of Movie Stars

Daniel Galef’s debut collection, Imaginary Sonnets, demonstrates his mastery of the form as well as his ability to reinvigorate it with wit and experimentation. These fourteen-line biographies and tales open up a world, largely drawn from literature, that your history books ignored and that you will enjoy.

— A. M. Juster, author of Wonder and Wrath

The sonnet is one nifty little container, isn’t it! Each of these poems contains its own tiny library—of books, sure, but life experiences, history . . . okay, everything, from Pandora (she of the box full of imps) to Casey (he of the Mudville Nine) and beyond. There’s even a taco talking to a chalupa, and I’m not making that up. Nobody could make that up except Daniel Galef.

— David Kirby, author of Help Me, Information


Daniel Galef was born and raised in Oxford, Mississippi, where he spent his afternoons on the veranda of Square Books. After studying philosophy and classics at McGill University in Montreal, he received his MFA from the fiction program at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His poetry covers a diverse range of styles and genres, including light verse (Light Quarterly, the Saturday Evening Post, the Washington Post Style Invitational), children’s literature (Spider, the Caterpillar, School Magazine), and serious formal poetry (Able Muse, Atlanta Review, the Lyric). Besides poems, he also writes fiction (Indiana Review, Juked, the Best Small Fictions anthology), nonfiction (Word Ways, Working Classicists, the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts), humor and satire (American Bystander,, the Journal of Irreproducible Results), and plays (Players’ Theatre Montréal, Théâtre MainLine Theatre). In 2022 he placed second in the New Yorker cartoon caption contest. This is his first book.

    Fiction & Literature
    July 14
    Able Muse Press