Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 85 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems

Overview


This unique anthology has as its focus the notion of form in contemporary poetry. No subject has attracted more vigorous discussion within the community of poets and critics in the past ten years. If we are to understand what form is and how it shapes poetic expression, we must turn to the poems themselves for clues. And if we are very lucky, we can listen to the voice of the poets who wrote them.

 
In Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms, contemporary poets have selected ...

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Overview


This unique anthology has as its focus the notion of form in contemporary poetry. No subject has attracted more vigorous discussion within the community of poets and critics in the past ten years. If we are to understand what form is and how it shapes poetic expression, we must turn to the poems themselves for clues. And if we are very lucky, we can listen to the voice of the poets who wrote them.

 
In Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms, contemporary poets have selected one poem, commenting on the occasion of its creation and on the form the poem eventually took. Originally published in 1987 with a selection of 65 poets, this revised and expanded edition adds selections by twenty additional poets. Other revisions include an enlarged glossary of terms, and more expanded biographies of individual poets. The range of contributors is wide, and includes John Ashbery, John Cage, Rita Dove, Alice Fulton, Marilyn Hacker, Yusef Komunyakaa, James Merrill, Thylias Moss, Robert Pinsky, Charles Simic, and Richard Wilbur. Among the new contributions is Wyn Cooper's poem "Fun," which was the basis for Sheryl Crow's Grammy-award winning song "All I Wanna Do."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[A] generous and sharp-witted anthology . . . an intriguing and unusually informative glimpse into the creative process."
--Newsday

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This enjoyable romp through the thoughts of 85 poets is a lark masquerading as a colossus. When writers from John Ashbery to Charles Wright talk about their work, you might expect Deep Thoughts, but it is surprising (and fun) to read how even the most erudite poet can be as uncertain as the next person. Lehman, editor of this second edition (the first was published by Macmillan in 1987), observed in the original preface that the work is intended to be "perfectly emblematic of the poetic process itself"; but a new preface sees the volume merely as "a chance to eavesdrop on poets talking shop." It's a treat to listen to, among others, Frank Bidart ("Forms are the language of desire before desire has found its object"), Maria Flook ("In `Discreet,' I seem to be talking about poetry itself, how I failed in it or how it was lost from me") and John Cage ("Using MESOMAKE, a program made at my request... I chose to have it triggered with the first three words of the text"). With 20 poems-and accompanying commentary-added to those of the first edition, this revised anthology offers a rewarding glimpse of the passion and restraint, the control and the chaos, the artifice and the chance at work in those who practice poetry. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472066339
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/1996
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 1,196,212
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the 1987 Edition
A. R. Ammons 1
John Ashbery 2
Frank Bidart 5
Eavan Boland 16
Donald Britton 18
Lucie Brock-Broido 20
John Cage 23
Maxine Chernoff 26
Amy Clampitt 27
Marc Cohen 29
Wyn Cooper 31
Alfred Corn 33
Douglas Crase 36
Robert Creeley 39
Tom Disch 42
Jim Dolot 45
Rita Dove 48
Maria Flook 53
Alice Fulton 56
Jonathan Galassi 60
Amy Gerstler 63
Dana Gioia 65
Debora Greger 68
Marilyn Hacker 71
Rachel Hadas 76
Mac Hammond 79
William Hathaway 80
Anthony Hecht 83
Gerrit Henry 89
Daryl Hine 91
Edward Hirsch 92
John Hollander 95
Paul Hoover 100
Richard Howard 102
Colette Inez 105
Phyllis Janowitz 108
Lawrence Joseph 110
Donald Justice 113
Richard Kenney 115
John Koethe 118
Yusef Komunyakaa 120
Ann Lauterbach 123
David Lehman 125
Brad Leithauser 128
William Logan 129
J. D. McClatchy 131
Heather McHugh 133
Michael Malinowitz 136
Harry Mathews 138
William Matthews 140
James Merrill 144
W. S. Merwin 145
Susan Mitchell 147
Robert Morgan 150
Dave Morice 152
Howard Moss 156
Thylias Moss 158
Harryette Mullen 162
Charles North 167
Joyce Carol Oates 171
Molly Peacock 172
Robert Pinsky 175
Katha Pollitt 177
Mary Jo Salter 179
Lloyd Schwartz 181
Charles Simic 183
Louis Simpson 186
Elizabeth Spires 190
Jon Stallworthy 194
Mark Strand 197
Richard Stull 199
James Tate 201
Lewis Turco 203
John Updike 207
Mona Van Duyn 210
Paul Violi 216
Rosmarie Waldrop 219
Rosanna Warren 221
Marjorie Welish 222
Bernard Welt 224
Susan Wheeler 226
Richard Wilbur 228
Charles Wright 231
John Yau 234
Stephen Yenser 236
A Brief Glossary of Forms and Other Terms 239
Further Reading 257
Acknowledgments 259
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