The Shakespeare 400 Collection contains recordings of twenty sonnets read by ten major poets. Each poet has chosen a favourite sonnet by Shakespeare and, inspired by that sonnet, has written a new sonnet of their own.

Celebrating the work of William Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death, the British Council supported The Poetry Archive to enable us to record and present the Shakespeare 400 Collection as part of the Shakespeare Lives in 2016 programme.

These sonnets are included in the Bloomsbury anthology, ‘On Shakespeare’s Sonnets – A Poets’ Celebration’, published in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature and Kings College London. The book contains 30 Shakespeare sonnets and new sonnets by thirty poets.


Sonnet 11

Read by Jackie Kay
Sonnet 11 - William Shakespeare - Read by Jackie Kay
Thirty-Five - Jackie Kay

Sonnet 12

Read by Andrew Motion
Sonnet 12 - William Shakespeare - Read by Andrew Motion
Rhapsodies - Andrew Motion

Sonnet 33

Read by Mimi Khalvati
Sonnet 33 - William Shakespeare - Read by Mimi Khalvati
Hearing Voices - Mimi Khalvati

Sonnet 36

Read by Don Paterson
Sonnet 36 - William Shakespeare - Read by Don Paterson
Two - Don Paterson

Sonnet 43

Read by Imtiaz Dharker
Sonnet 43 - William Shakespeare - Read by Imtiaz Dharker
The Trick - Imtiaz Dharker

Sonnet 49

Read by Bernard O'Donoghue
Sonnet 49 - William Shakespeare - Read by Bernard O'Donoghue
At the Halle - Bernard O’Donoghue

Sonnet 65

Read by Alan Brownjohn
Sonnet 65 - William Shakespeare - Read by Alan Brownjohn
A Winter Elegy - Alan Brownjohn
A Call - Alan Brownjohn

Sonnet 73

Read by Jo Shapcott
Sonnet 73 - William Shakespeare - Read by Jo Shapcott
2014/2015 - Jo Shapcott

Sonnet 116

Read by Gillian Clarke
Sonnet 116 - William Shakespeare - Read by Gillian Clarke
Magnetism - Gillian Clarke

Sonnet 143

Read by Fiona Sampson
Sonnet 143 - William Shakespeare - Read by Fiona Sampson
Drowned Man - Fiona Sampson