Let Him Die For’t

Banner - blue Sonnets die closeup

06 May 2016
· The Sonnets meet 3D printing ·

Guess what this is.

bronze 3D printed Sonnets die - ShakespeareA bronze golf ball? Two-thirds correct.

Clue: the dimples are numbered from 1 to 154. Any help?

How about a pun: Shall I compare thee to a sonnets die?

It’s a Sonnets Die. It’s amazing. 8 cm in diameter, or 3.15 inches. (Practically π.) It’s lucky that I wrote an even number of sonnets – one more or less would have bolloxed the whole thing up. The maths-geek in me knows that each pair of opposing numbers at the ends of a diameter adds to 155.

The polished bronze die above, as well as others in different materials and colors (and prices – just a few are shown below), were made via 3D design and printing, by Matthew Cornelisse. He calls this design D154. You can find D154 dice for sale on this page at Matthew’s Shapeways shop. He makes many other dice also. They’re beautiful.

five different 3D printed sonnets dice - Shakespeare3D printing. Just think of it. Gutenberg’s 2D printer had only been around for about a century when I was born. There was no Moore’s Law back then. The pace of change was so. much. slower. Believe me when I tell you, the printing press was the internet.

woodcut printing 1568 PDF version 1Portable Document Format 1.0.
The woodcut was made in 1568, when I was eighteen.
Image: public domain

Why would you want a Sonnets Die? Isn’t it obvious? (You do like the poems?) The D154 project was overseen by Jeff Falzone, one of my truest partisans. He and some friends will use the die to test his recall of the entire cycle. You heard me. Roll the die, recite the sonnet from memory. If you think that I could do this myself, you’d be… mistaken. 400+ years ago when I wrote them, sure, but not any more. Jeffrey is an exceptional and admirable human being.

Even if you’re not into Homeric feats of poetic memorisation, the dice are such beguiling objets. I bet they feel great to hold, especially the metal ones. They’ve got size, heft. Keep one on your desk with a copy of the sonnets. (Wrong name’s on that cover. I’m used to it.) Do you have a few minutes while you’re in a hold queue for customer support? Roll the die, see which one you get. Read it. Learn something. Feel something.
I’m not as materially acquisitive as I used to be, but ’sblood I’d love to own that bronze die. I’d probably have to sell another manor. I’ve always had excellent taste, which doesn’t come cheap.

My birthday will be rolling around again, next 12 April. #Oxford467. That’s called a hint.