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After New Formalism Paperback – May 15, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Story Line Press; First Edition edition (May 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885266685
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885266682
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,630,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annie Finch is an award-winning poet as well as an author, performer, spiritual writer, and entrepreneur. Her poetry has appeared in The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry and onstage at Carnegie Hall. She writes regularly on spirituality for The Huffington Post and is founder and CEO of The American Witch Community & Marketplace. More at anniefinch.com.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Walzer on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Finch, also a fine poet, has assembled a book that is a large, useful survey of issues arising from the New Formalist poetry movement. A few of the essays are of lesser quality, but most are strong engagements with the diverse varieties of traditional form in contemporary American poetry. As Finch notes, it may be time to move past the label "New Formalist" in considering the larger influence of the resurgence of tradtional form--a viewpoint I support. The book overall is a provoking collection, and a good introduction to the issues surrounding contemporary poetry in traditional form.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Walzer on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Finch, also a fine poet, has assembled a book that is a large, useful survey of issues arising from the New Formalist poetry movement. A few of the essays are of lesser quality, but most are strong engagements with the diverse varieties of traditional form in contemporary American poetry. As Finch notes, it may be time to move past the label "New Formalist" in considering the larger influence of the resurgence of tradtional form--a viewpoint I support. The book overall is a provoking collection, and a good introduction to the issues surrounding contemporary poetry in traditional form.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By j. levesque on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Annie Finch is one of those rare minds whose generosity of intelligence is well evident in this new collection of essays. She addresses some of the fundamental issues that the New Formalism has raised and looks beyond them with a cogent vision. This book is a must for anyone who wishes to understand the world of contemporary American poetry.
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