After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition

Overview

In recent years, the New Formalist movement has been growing and changing quickly, as poets from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives have found in formal poetics a tool of great potential range and power. The common perception of New Formalism's methods and goals, however, has altered much more slowly. After New Formalism is part of an expanding conversation on the formal possibilities of contemporary poetry and on the implications of formalism for poetic history, ...
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Overview

In recent years, the New Formalist movement has been growing and changing quickly, as poets from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives have found in formal poetics a tool of great potential range and power. The common perception of New Formalism's methods and goals, however, has altered much more slowly. After New Formalism is part of an expanding conversation on the formal possibilities of contemporary poetry and on the implications of formalism for poetic history, practice, and theory.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sometimes yielding valuable insights, sometimes flogging a team of long-dead horses, this collection of 22 critical essays by contemporary, mostly U.S.-based poets and critics, is the latest of many books provoked by the 1980s movement called New Formalism, in which Dana Gioia and others called for sonnets and clarity to replace free verse and obscurity. Poet Finch (Eve) made an earlier intervention with A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women, and concerns of gender inform contributions from Alison Cummings and Kathrine Varnes. Psychoanalyst and poet Frederick Fierstein discusses "Psychoanalysis and Poetry," while several contributors defend a push for more long verse narratives. Timothy Steele analyzes some specimens by 20th-century masters of compression (J.V. Cunningham, Louise Bogan); Gioia reappears with an unsurprising paean to his movement. Almost all these essays have appeared before in books or journals (though some are salvaged from obscure ones); the best have nothing to do with New Formalism, and everything to do with the particular forms and ideas about form they choose to discuss. Agha Shahid Ali continues his already-influential project of explaining how, and why, Anglophone poets can use the Persian/Urdu form called the ghazal. James Cummins' subtle analysis of the sestina form explains its attractions along with its difficulties. Marilyn Nelson shows in "Owning the Masters" how the master's tools may actually have some effect on the house. As Anne Stevenson declares convincingly, "The case for form is won with every good poem that's written--and then sensitively read." (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781885266682
  • Publisher: Story Line Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Traditions
Format and Form 1
Owning the Masters 8
Wings of a Phoenix? Rebellion and Resuscitation in Postmodern American Poetry 18
Verse That Print Bred 25
The Poet in an Age of Prose 31
Aspects of Robinson 42
Toward an Alternative Formalist Tradition: The Other Harlem Renaissance 48
Poetics
Blues in Black and White 63
From Gilded Cage to Rib Cage 70
The New Formalism and the Revival of the Love Lyric 79
Boundless Wealth from a Finite Store: Meter and Grammar 89
Other Voices, Other Lives 107
Metrical Diversity: A Defense of the Non-Iambic Meters 117
The Ghazal in America: May I? 123
Calliope Music: Notes on the Sestina 133
Directions
Why We Need a New, Rhythm-Centered Theory of Poetry 147
Feminist Formalist: A Critical Oxymoron? 158
Expansive Poetry and Postmodernism 166
Psychoanalysis and Poetry 179
Playing Tennis in Asbestos Gloves: Women, Formalism and Subjectivity in the 1980s 188
The Inner Meaning of Poetic Form 199
An Idea of Order 204
The Trouble With a Word Like Formalism 217
Contributors 225
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