State Sonnets
poems by B.J. Best

"A master word-smith, Best's rhythmic expressions are engaging, occasionally insightful, and always thoughtful and thought-provoking, making State Sonnets highly recommended reading for those who appreciate succinctly crafted and imaginative verse."
Midwest Book Review (Buehle)

"Clearly the vehicle Best uses to travel his postcard roads is the contemporary sonnet, offering only minor homage to Shakespeare or Petrarch’s rigid rules. Best plays with stanza and line, syllable count and iambics leaving only one sonnet to use the traditional hanging indent on the last couplet.  Some of his lines measure metrically ten beats per, but more often Best’s metrics percolate along, suiting the organic needs of the poem, making his rhythms never predictable or boring. ... Finally, marry these sonnets with the smart art and photography of Kevin Charles Kline, and readers get the best of all worlds and a road trip where the romance is as certain as the turn at the top of the next hill."
Verse Wisconsin

"State Sonnets is a compact book of brief poems crafted around the vessel of a road trip—from highway romance to lost regrets to carnal desire and surprising sights. The poems are composed as if written on fourteen-line postcards, each correlating to pushpins on a travel map. A blend of love and sightseeing across state lines, State Sonnets is an pleasure to read and reread."
Midwest Book Review (Burroughs)

In State Sonnets, B.J. Best takes the venerable poetic form on a road trip, speeding down highways of romance, regret, longing, and sex on a tour that lustily wanders into a collection of fourteen-line postcards—pushpins that map the arcs and angles of love and travel.

B.J. Best was interviewed on WUWM, where he discussed sonnets and also read from State Sonnets.

Best was also interviewed in a profile article in the New Perspective (page 6).

B.J. Best’s State Sonnets certainly have as much to do with states of mind as they do with states on the map—and from both perspectives the scenery is nothing short of memorable. These beautifully crafted poems meander at their own intricate pace from California (Alcatraz) to New York (Niagara Falls), pausing at more than a dozen unlikely points between and beyond, including an unforgettable stopover at Mead Lake, Wisconsin. With this collection we are clearly traveling through familiar and fragile emotional territory—a journey deeply worth taking."
Marilyn Taylor, Poet Laureate of Wisconsin and author of Going Wrong

"Wielding an atlas of the heart, a ‘compass drawn toward injured birds,’ and stiletto-sharp diction honed from hallowed alchemy, B.J. Best embarks on an Odyssean journey through lands laden with memory and love, the ache of wanderlust tailing him around every corner on this strange, lovelorn road." —Charles Nevsimal, editor of Centennial Press

"The place is but one place the imagination finds itself on tour with Mr. Best and company; another is a keen state of awareness of how landscape—semitropical, urban, rural, pastoral, urban-rural (there aren’t adjectives enough)—affects when, in fact, homage is paid to texture, as does here the poet—lovingly."
—Karl Elder, author of The Geocryptogrammatist’s Pocket Compendium of the United States

Best reads "Montana" on Milwaukee Public Radio.