Poetry Form - Book Notes
by Ariadne Unst.

Buy Attridge's 'Poetic Rhythm' Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction, Derek Attridge (1995).

Buy Stephen Fry's 'The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within' See also: The Ode Less Travelled:
Unlocking the Poet Within
by Stephen Fry.

Buy Snodgrass De/Compositions: 101 Good Poems Gone Wrong, W.D. Snodgrass (Introduction by Donald Hall) (2001).

Finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.

W.D. Snodgrass (a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet) shows you how to tell good poetry from bad poetry in a special and delightful way - by rewriting "good" poems. Those poems often end up not only written differently but also badly, for our amusement and instruction, when Snodgrass rewrites works by Shakespeare, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, and other superb poets.

Snodgrass changes words and syntax. He retains the sense, meter, and length of the various poems he "revises." His book displays each reworked version with its original, so the reader sees the shifts in words, lines, and stanzas. It's like seeing your life go backward, when a well crafted and revised poem degenerates into what could barely pass for a clumsy second draft.

Reinforcing the idea that every word is important in a poem, Snodgrass shows how often only a very small change can make a large difference. Snodgrass includes a short essay in each of his five sections. Mainly he lets the poems instruct the reader with minimal intrusion from him.

Buy Turco The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, Lewis Turco (2000).

Excellent book for your study of poetry and prosody. In-depth explanations of forms, with a through index of forms. A reference book for every poet.

Traditionalists enjoy Turco's work to restore respect for the discipline of metered language.

Buy Strand

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, Edited by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland (2000).

Explores poetic forms and offers an anthology of poetry. Editors Strand and Boland describe various metrical forms that they say provide the "architecture" of poetry. They explore: the ballad, blank verse, the heroic couple, the pantoum, the sestina, the stanza, the sonnet, the villanelle.

They give a brief section on meter, then chapters on "shaping" forms, by which they mean the "environment" (that fashionable word) or content of poetry. The "shaping" forms they present here include: the elegy (a lament); the pastoral; the ode (originally a poem of praise and applause).

The book concludes with a section on open forms.

Buy Hollander Rhyme`s Reason: A Guide to English Verse, Third Edition, John Hollander

A charming book, particularly because Hollander offers a sestina about sestinas, a sonnet about how to write sonnets, a haiku about how to write haiku, etc. The writing is not only entertaining - it is instructive.

Includes a mini-anthology of forms treated in the text.

See also:

Buy Turco Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 85 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems , by David Lehman (Editor). Delightful and informal essays by the poets accompany their formal poems.
Buy Fussell Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, Paul Fussell (Revised 1979) A classic that many think is the best book written on meter and form, and on writing poetry in poetic form. Introduces the mechanics and usefulness of rhyme forms and scansion. Illuminating examples. It can help you write better poetry and understand the poetry you read.

[Thanks for visiting.]