Words of Love
by Mark Rutkoski/Translated by Vivien Knussi
Taking its title from a 1966 pop song by The Mamas and the Papas, Words of Love is an index of the words and their frequency in the complete sonnets of William Shakespeare. The text includes:
160 loves, 16 hates, 8 summers, 5 winters, 7 virtues, 1 vice, 1 virgin.
12 die, 2 died, 1 dies, 1 dying, and 1 diest.
489 ands, 163 buts, 80 ors.
344 marks of I, 164 of me and 62 mines. 113 yous.
3 thrices, 2 saucys,
and 1 canker-blooms.
Words of Love is both art object and literary experiment, investigating poetry through the lens of accumulation. Replacing the structural repetition of the sonnet form with pure repetition of words, Rutkoski disassembles the construct of love as erected by its most iconic architect. This text is for anyone who knows the truth of the lyrics, “worn out phrases and longing gazes / won’t get you where you want to go.”