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A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933456959
ISBN-10: 9781933456959
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If Emily Dickinson wasn't the mother of American poetry, she was at least the favorite eccentric aunt. The long-standing poetic rebellion against formalism, especially as it has helped feminist writers to find a free and authentic voice, has had the unfortunate byproduct of separating many women writers from the Dickinsonian tradition of carefully crafted verse. The discipline of poetic form can lead to a freshness of vision, and many women writers are either rediscovering, or have never forgotten, the benefits of scansion, meter, and fixed-form poetry. In this collection you'll find stunning formal poetry, which Rita Dove calls "a talisman against disintegration." Annie Finch has included work from Jane Kenyon, May Sarton, and Molly Peacock, among others. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: WordTech Communications (December 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781933456959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933456959
  • ASIN: 1933456957
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,035,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This anthology is very useful to anyone who wants to read contemporary poetry in traditional forms. I like the range of poets displayed ( from Rhina Esphillat to Nikki Giovanni to Honor Moore) and the way poets bend and extend the traditional forms we usually think of as confining. The authors also give a brief commentary on their work, which helps give the reader insight into how and why poets choose certain forms.
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This volume, published in 1994, is one that no one teaching poetry workshops in the US wants to ignore, especially where women's poetry is concerned. Editor Annie Finch offers "formal" poetry from 60 women poets, a few, like Mona van Duyn, whose work dates back to the 1950s. Most, however, are contemporary American writers, such as Marilyn Hacker, Rachel Hadas, and Mary Jo Salter, several cited regularly when the topic of "new formalism" comes rhyming by. The appendices are particularly helpful, as they group poems by structure: English Sonnets, Terza Rima, Sestinas, etc. Each woman offers her insight into formal poetry, how she came to the writing, as well as how the form creates a sense of challenge or accomplishment for her. Not surprisingly, most also tell the reader how important the "early moderns" where to them, as novice writers. Hearty salutes to Moore, Bishop, and Bogan abound.
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Format: Paperback
A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women

This is a gentle exploration of the work of women poets who write in a formal way or within a formal tradition. As well as featuring excellent poems by virtuoso formalists like Emily Dickinson, and contemporary poets in the new formalist movement like Marilyn Hacker, Annie Finch has done a great job in making available the work of these women poets. Now that so much modern free verse is merely telegraphese, what we find here is the basic notation of poetry, in its glory as sound and sense. Lovers of poetry can find here favourite sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Eleanor Wylie, and find treasures of poems made available here for the first time in one volume
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Format: Paperback
Would make a great primer for an aspirant poet(ess). Much of the work has that painting-by-numbers feel - but the intros! Rachel Hadas cites Frost, Elise Paschen (great name for a poet, just so long as it's pronounced Italian-style!) cites Yeats, but mostly it's about the poetessas' personal voyages of discovery. Of course there are stars here - Hacker, Hadas, Salter, plus some lesser names (Noguere, Storace) that caught my eye - but the intros! Especially Hadas (again) and Molly Peacock, whose poetry, while ingenious and (of course) felt, I can't say I particularly care for

As for Hadas, she'd be fronting a presidential inauguration if she weren't living in Greece with a mind of her own
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