A Formal Feeling Comes

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Celebrating the diverse traditions of poetic form, editor and poet Annie Finch presents illuminating examples from sixty contemporary women poets who have transformed and strengthened their literary inheritance. A Formal Feeling Comes welcomes the new millennium with intellectual clarity, emotional freedom, and a chorus of powerful voices.

A collection of more than 40 poems including brief critical statements by each poet and concise critical mini-essays on the poetry of each poet. Finch examines the course of 20th century poetry by American women, exploring the strain of male dominance that submerged more than two generations of women writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Worth reading for its inclusion of new and original voices, this is both a stimulating and a problematic book. Finch challenges current notions linking form in women's poetry with a long tradition of both social and literary oppression. In this political verse struggle, free verse functions as a Hillary Clintonesque vehicle, with formal verse as the Barbara Bush of personal expression. The editor observes ``a widespread turn--or return--to `formal' poetics'' among women now writing, and marshals some influential writers (Rita Dove, Mona Van Duyn) to support her argument. Providing balance, she also reserves space for younger poets writing within a broad stylistic spectrum. Nell Altizer, Sybil Kollar, Suzanne Noguere, Molly Peacock, Mary Jo Salter and Leslie Simon are a few of the writers who offer an un-self-conscious and spirited approach. Each poet prefaces her work with a brief essay on form, many of these notable for their mixed feelings about it. One recurring theme: an awareness of formal writing's limitations, and an interest in its potential as an appropriated language. The anthology in a sense confounds this question, as roughly half of the poems surprise us and the other half remind us of why women may have revolted against form to begin with. (June)
Library Journal
This wonderful collection, which takes its title from Emily Dickinson (``After great pain, a formal feeling comes''), celebrates ``the new formalism'' being practiced by many highly regarded contemporary women poets. Finch (Ghost of Meter, Univ. of Michigan Pr., 1993) defines formalism, long rejected as reactionary and elitist, as ``poetry that foregrounds the artificial nature of poetic language by means of conspicuously repeated patterns.'' In the last decade or so ``new formalism'' has meant a reintroduction-not a nostalgic reminiscence-of poetic expression in some of the strict meters of the past as well as in strikingly new forms. Demonstrating this breadth, Finch's collection includes Sonia Sanchez, influenced in part by rap music and street talk-``i say. step back sisters. we're rising from the dead/ i say. step back johnnies. we're dancing on our heads''-along with the expressively sedate May Sarton, ``Later in June, alive with silent fire,/the fireflies pulsed their firefly desire.'' The poems range from perfect sonnets, pantoums, and villanelles to poems whose only structure is a consistency in number of beats per line. Each poet introduces her work with a brief statement concerning her relationship to formal poetry. Highly recommended.-Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Not the drab and crabbed prosody of the New Formalism, but powerful, exciting, and fiercely original examples by 60 women poets-- including Rita Dove, Marilyn Hacker, Maxine Kumin, Sonia Sanchez, May Sarton, Mona Van Duyn, and Anne Waldman--of how to appropriate the traditions of literary form for the contemporary poetry project. Published by Story Line Press, 3 Oaks Farm, Brownsville, OR 97327. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933456959
  • Publisher: WordTech Communications
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 332
  • Sales rank: 1,509,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.74 (d)

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