FORM OF POETRY
Section 001 / Fall 2004 / Susan Tichy / Tuesay 7:20-10:00 / Place TBA
of books & essays I have consulted over the years when preparing and teaching this course. necessarily partial, in both senses of the word
Allen, Donald M. & Warren Tallman. The Poetics of the New
American Poetry. NY: Grove, 1973.
About 40 essays on poetry by 30 poets, including Pound, Crane, Lorca,Stein, Williams, Zukofsky, Duncan, Spicer, Creeley, Levertov, Ginsberg, O'Hara, & Baraka. Some are included in Ramazani.Altieri, Charles. "The Objectivist Tradition." In The Objectivist Nexus: Essays in Cultural Poetics, ed. Rachel Blau DuPlessis & Peter Quartermain. University of Alabama Press, 1999. 25-36
Attridge, Derek. The Rhythms of English Poetry. London: Longman, 1982.
- - - - . Poetic Rhythm: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge
This book begins with an essay on meter by Ronald Wallace, to which the other participants respond with essays of their own. Wallace is highly knowledgable and definitely qualifes as a meter crank, so his assertions and proposals are effective starting-points for debate. His most fundamental proposal is that we regard all poetry in English as either iambic or some variety of free verse, folding the other meters into one or the other category. This of course sparks defenses of accentualism, syllabics, and the other accentual-syllabic meters. Other Wallace ideas generate discussion on such issues as scansion, stress levels, and meter vs. rhythm. I've listed some of the most interesting essays separately in this bibliography.
Bakhtin, M.M. The Dialogic Imagination. Trans. Caryl Emerson & Michael Holmquist. Austin: U Texas P, 1981.
Though Bakhtin theorized the discourse of the novel, his ideas on polyphonic and dialogic texts have deeply influenced both the reading and the writing of poetry since the mid-20th century.Beach, Christopher, ed. An Anthology of New Poetics. Tuscaloosa: U Alabama P, 1998.
Bennett, Tony. Formalism and Marxism. London: Methuen, 1979.
Bernstein, Charles, ed. Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word. NY: Oxford, 1998.
Seventeen essays on the poetry reading, the sound of poetry, and the visual performance of poetry. The introduction and essays by Susan Stewart, Nick Piombino, Marjorie Perloff, Johanna Drucker, Peter Quartermain, and the afterword by Ron Silliman seem especially useful in the context of this course.- - - - . "Artifice of Absorption." A Poetics. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1992. 9-89.
A verse essay that sets on its head just about everything you thought you knew about reading poems, yet simultaneously confirms just about everything you knew without knowing you knew it. Highly recommended.Beyers, Chris. A History of Free Verse. Little Rock: U Arkansas P, 2000.
A historical and aesthetic approach to the development of free verse in English. Includes detailed consideration of precursors, including the Pindaric Ode & 19th century translation theory. Examines the origins of long-line & short-line free verse, free verse haunted by meter, and free verse that attempts to eschew all relationship to meter. Close treatment of Eliot, Stevens, H.D., early Williams.Breslin, Paul. The Psycho-Political Muse: American Poetry Since the Fifties. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1987.
Breslin, James E.B. From Modern to Contemporary: American Poetry,
1945-1965. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1984.
Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1947.
This book is structured on the discussion of ten canonical poems from Donne's "The Canonization" to Yeats' "Among School Children." Includes classic New Critical statements on paradox and tension, on reading poems without reference to the poet's biography, and on the "heresy of paraphrase." Though his biases and limitations are legion, Brooks' readings are often brilliant. They frequently form the basis on which all subesequent readings build.Brower, Reuben, ed. Forms of Lyric. NY: Columbia UP, 1970.
Carson, Anne. Eros, the Bittersweet. Normal, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998 .
Eros & the alphabet.Cixous, Helene. "The Laugh of the Medusa." New French Feminismsi, ed. Elaine Marks & Isabelle de Courtivron. Amherst: U Mass P, 1980.
Day, Aidan. Romanticism. New Critical Idiom series. London & New York: Routledge, 1996.
This little handbook makes a succinct text for the study of Romanticism. It surveys both the changing canon and the changing critical constructions of Romantic literature. Includes discussions of gender, politics, and Romanticism's relationship(s) with the Enlightenment.
de Man, Paul. Allegories of Reading. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979.
- - - - . "Anthropomorphism and Trope in the Lyric." The Rhetoric of Romanticism. NY: Columbia UP, 1984.
Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Transl. Alan Bass. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1978.
- - - - . Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri C. Spivak.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1976.
Diepeveen, Leonard. Changing Voices: The Modern Quoting Poem . University
of Michigan, 1993.
DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice. NY: Routledge, 1990.
Contains her important early essays on feminist writing and poetics, including "For the Etruscans," "Otherhowe", and the title essay. Also essays on Susan Howe, H.D., Beverly Dahlen, and others. The title essay is also collected in Beach.- - - - . "Objectivist Poetics and Political Vision: A Study of Oppen and Pound." In George Oppen: Man and Poet. Orono, ME: National Poetry Foundation, University of Maine, 1981. 123-148.
Drucker, Johanna. "Visual Performance of the Poetic Text." In Bernstein, 1998.
- - - - . Figuring the Word: Essays on Books, Writing, and Visual Poetics. NY: Granary Books, 1998. 57-74.
- - - - . “Experimental – Visual – Concrete.” In Experimental -- Visual -- Concrete: Avant-garde Poetry Since the 1960s. Ed. David K. Jackson, Eric Vos & Johanna Drucker. Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi, 1996.
Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1983.Easthope, Anthony. Poetry as Discourse. London: Methuen, 1985.
A succinct and original introduction to linguistic theory as it applies to poetic form and to the construction of a poetic speaker. Brief, clear introductions to relevant concepts from Saussare, Lacan, Derrida, Benviste, Jakobsen, & others. Easthope is a Marxist literary theorist, so his larger purpose is to establish the crucial relationships between linguistics, poetic line, and the construction of ideology in a poem.
Eliot, T.S. The Sacred Wood. 3rd Ed. London: Methuen, 1932 
1920 edition also available at Bartleby.com, 1996. http://www.bartleby.com/200/- - - - . "Tradition and the Individual Talent." In Ramazani Vol. 1; also in Shapiro.
- - - - . "The Metaphysical Poets." In Ramazani Vol. 1; also in Shapiro.
Eliot, Valerie, ed. The Waste Land: Facsimile and Transcript of the Original Drafts. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971.
You will learn more about The Waste Land and about the process of generating and editing a poem in montage by studying this facsmilie than you will from ten essays. Here is a glimpse of the actual process, sans ideological wish-fulfillment by critics. Shows Pound's and Valerie Eliot's marginalia in the original draft and includes the poem as published for comparison.Finch, Annie. The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 1993
Finch modifies frame theory and theories of local metrical meaning ("local" as in metrical variations within the frame) with a proposal that metrical meaning is especially laden with meaning at periods of metrical change and controversy. She explicates particular associations between meaning and meter in Whitman, Dickinson, Crane, Eliot & others. Ironically, she has been criticized for being un-historical in the sense that she sometimes claims authorial intention for her readings where no record exists to show that the poets in question believed what she claims for them. Interesting textual interpretations, nonetheless.- - - -. "A Defense of the Non-Iambic Meters." in Baker.
Forrest-Thompson, Veronica. Poetic Artifice: A Theory of Twentieth-Century Poetry. NY: St. Martins, 1978.
Groundbreaking & influential work on how form actively conspires to create the total complex of meaning in a poem. Has influenced the work of more recent critics, including Charles Bernstein. Forrest-Thompson died while finalizing the manuscript of this book, so it remains her only contribution to a conversation she might have done much to develop.
Frank, Robert & Henry Sayre. The Line in Postmodern Poetry.
Urbana: U Illinois P, 1988.
An outstanding collection of essays on free verse, experimental verse, the political uses of line break, and other unconventional subjects. Essayists include Jonathan Holden, Marjorie Perloff, Sandra M. Gilbert, Mary Ann Caws, Stephen E. Henderson, Garret Kaoru Hongo, James Scully, Renée Fiese Hubert, Kathleen Fraser, Charles Bernstein & Bruce Andrews.Frost, Robert. "The Figure a Poem Makes." In Ramazani Vol. 1, and in Scully.
- - - - . "Sentence Sounds." In Scully.
Fussell, Paul. Poetic Meter and Poetic Form. Revised edition. NY: McGraw Hill, 1979.
Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Grubar, eds. Shakespeare's Sisters: Feminist Essays on Women Poets. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1979.
Gioia, Dana. "Meter-Making Arguments." In Baker.
Golding, Alan. "'Drawings with Words': Susan Howe's Visual Poetics."
In We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women's Writing and Performance
Poetics. Ed. Laura Hinton & Cynthia Hogue. Tuscaloosa: University
of Alabama Press, 2002. 152-164.
Greenblat, David. "Effect of Genre on Metrical Style." Language and Style 11 (1978). 18-29.
Grimm, Reinhold. "Poems and/as Pictures: A Quick Look at Two and Half Millennia of Ongoing Aesthetic Intercourse." In From Ode to Anthem: Problems of Lyric Poetry. Ed. Grimm & Jost Hermund. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1989. 3-85.
Gross, Harvey & Robert McDowell. Sound and Form in Modern
Poetry. 2nd ed. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 1996.
First published in 1968. Groundbreaking study of prosody from Hardy to Levertov.
Hartman, Charles O. Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1980.
- - - - . "Some Responses to Ronald Wallace." In Baker.
- - - - . "Verse and Voice." In Ironwood
Hass, Robert. "Listening and Making." Twentieth-Century Pleasures.
- - - - . "Prosody: A New Footing." In Baker.
Heller, Adele & Lois Rudnick. 1915: The Cultural Moment:
The New Politics, the New Woman, the New Psychology, the New Art, and the
New Theatre in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1991.
Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. Poetic Closure. University of
Chicago Press, 1968.
Hillman, Brenda. "A Cadenced Privacy: (some thoughts on punctuation in contemporary poems)." By Herself: Women Reclaim Poetry. Ed. Molly McQuade. St. Paul: Graywolf P, 2000. 172-186.
This short essay introduces eleven cases of "thoughtful punctuation" in contempory poems by contemporary poets, ranging aesthetically from Louise Gluck to Leslie Scalapino. Prefaced by remarks on the relation between punctuation and silent reading. See also Parkes.
Hobsbaum, Philip. Metre, Rhythm and Verse Form. New Critical Idiom series. London & New York: Routledge, 1996.
This little handbook picks up about where Fussell leaves off. It discusses such matters as the different expressive modes of blank verse, the play of rhythm in different levels of stress, the importance of the duration or quantity of vowels in metrical verse, and the uses of several verse forms down to the twentieth century.Holden, Jonathan. Style and Authenticity in Postmodern Poetry. Columbia: U Missouri P, 1986.
Holden's definition of "postmodern" is "poetry after modernism," so he mostly discusses mainstream free verse poetries. Chapters include useful critiques of other works on 20th century poetry, such as Robert Pinksy's The Situation of Poetry and Charles O. Hartman's Free Verse, a descriptive definition of "The Contemporary Conversation Poem" and an excellent essay on "The Abstract Image."
Hollander, John. Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form. NY: Oxford UP, 1975
Some aspects of this book remind us of Hollander's own caution, that English prosody has tended to be a subject for cranks. Several essays are important, though, first among them "The Metrical Frame" which outlines that theory of metrical meaning as clearly as any in our time. And even in the most arcane arguments are buried small gems of prosodic insight.- - - - . Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse. New Enlarged Edition. New Haven: Yale UP, 1989.
This spiffy little handbook defines verse forms with witty desciptive examples, such as:Holley, Margaret. "Words Moving: Metrical Pleasures of Our Time." In Baker.
Hosek, Chaviva and Patricia Parker, eds. Lyric Poetry: Beyond New Criticism. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985.
Starting with the premise that poetry criticism has been stalled in a post-New Criticism backwater, this collection brings together essays that attempt to break free of New Critical paradigms. Some are by key thinkers, such as Hollander, Frederic Jameson and Paul de Man, others by relative unknowns. They tend to focus on canonical texts and it seems to me that many of them revise New Critical ideas rather than overturn them. Some are very useful. Poets treated in detail include Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Auden, Stevens. Topics treated include apostrophe and voice, dramatic monologue as a model for voice in modern poetry, parody & pastiche. Introductory and closing essays attempt to place the book's contents in context of poetry ciriticism & new theory.
Homans, Margaret. Bearing the Word: Language and Female Experience in Nineteenth-Century Women's Writing. Chicago:U Chicago P, 1986.
Hopkins, Gerard Manley. "Preface." In Shapiro.
- - - - . [On sprung rhythm]. In Ramazani Vol. 1.
Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain." In
Ramazani Vol. 1.
Hulme, T.E. "Romanticism and Classicism." In Shapiro; excerpt in
Ramazani Vol. 1.
Jakobson, Roman. "Linguistics and Poetics." The Structuraslists.
Ed. R.T. De George and F.M. De George. any: Doubleday, 1972.
A rare collection, bringing the attention of literary theorists to readings of poetry. Deals mostly with 20th c. American & British poetry, but includes essays on Aemilia Lanyer & Elizabeth Barrett Browning.Kirby-Smith, H.T. The Origins of Free Verse. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P, 1996.
Lakoff, George & Mark Turner. More than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor. U Chicago, 1989.
In the process of laying out a taxonomy of metaphor, this book also narrates a theory of how we read poetry. Astute at both micro and macro levels of discussion.
Levertov, Denise. "On the Function of the Line." Light Up the Cave. NY: New Directions, 1981. 61-69
A straightforward statement of her hearing of/theory of short-line free verse. Makes an excellent practical introduction.- - - - . "Some Notes on Organic Form." In Ramazani Vol 2, and in Allen.
Lewis, Wyndham, ed. Blast 1. Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1989. Excerpts in Ramazani Vol. 1; page reproductions in Perloff.
Lorca, Federicao García. "Theory and Function of the Duende." In Allen.
Loy, Mina. "Feminist Manifesto." The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy, ed. Roger L. Conover. NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996. 153-156. In Ramazani Vol. 1.
- - - - . "Aphorisms on Futurism." ibid. 149-152.
Mackey, Nathaniel. Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality, and Experimenetal Writing.
McCaffery, Steve. "Writing as a General Economy." In Beach.
McGann, Jerome. "Private Poetry, Public Deception." The Politics of Poetic Form: Poetry and Public Policy, ed. Charles Bernstein. 119-148. [On Byron.]
Mills, Sara. Discourse. New Critical Idiom series. London & New York: Routledge, 1997.
This little text introduces the basic definitions and origins of discourse theory as well as its adaptations by feminists, linguists, post-colonialists and others.
Milosz, Czeslaw. "A Quarrel with Classicism." The Witness of
Moore, Marianne. "Idiosyncrasy and Technique." In Scully.
- - - - . "Humility, Concentration, and Gusto." Excerpt in Ramazani
Nelson, Cary. Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry
and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945.
Brings back together various strands of poetic practice which standard literary histories separate: experimental modernism with political activism, visual with verbal, Black with White, male with female. A stunning book.Nims, John Frederick. "Our Many Meters: Strength in Diversity." in Baker.
Olson, Charles. "Projective Verse." In Ramazani Vol 2, and in Allen.
Parkes, M.B. "The Layout and Punctuation of Verse." Pause and Effect: An Introduction to the History of Punctuation in the West. Berkeley: U California P, 1993.
Summarizes the role of graphic presentation of verse from Ovid to Browning. Includes scribal manuscripts, authors' holographs, and printed verses. Attends to the differences between marking a text for oral delivery and marking a text that will substitute for oral presence. See also Hillman.Perloff, Marjorie. The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1986.
A study of the forms, the ideologies, and the histories of Italian, German, & Russian Futurism. Includes Futurist infuence on Pound's Vorticist phase & his transition from a sickly sort of vers libre to truly non-iambic free verse. Excellent chapters on collage and on the manifesto as a genre. Nicely illustrated with Futurist art and manuscript reproductions.Perkins, David. A History of Modern Poetry. 2 volumes. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1976.
A very conservative narrative pretending to universality... but useful on poets Perkins is passionate about. Those include Frost, Yeats, Eliot, etc. Non-whites are ghetto-ized in their own chapter and most women poets are poorly read and underrated. The avant-garde is wished away out of existence.Pinsky, Robert. The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide. NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998.
Perhaps the best short introduction to reading and hearing poems.Pound, Ezra. "A Retrospect." In Scully; excerpts in Shapiro and in Ramazani Vol. 1.
Preminger, Alex & T.V.F. Brogan, eds. New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics.
Princeton University Press, 1993.
Raffel, Burton. From Stress to Stress: An Autobiography of English Meter. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1992.
As simple as the title: he presents his scansions, plus short commentary, on English and American canonical poems from Chaucer to the 20th centry. An excellent introduction to how meter has changed over time.Ramazani, Jahan & Richard Ellmann & Robert O'Clair, ed. The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. 3rd ed. 2 volumes. W.W. Norton, 2003.
Rosenthal, M.L. & Sally M. Gall. The Modern Poetic Sequence: The Genius of Modern Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 1983.
Rothenberg, Jerome & Steven Clay. A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections about the Book & Writing. NY: Granary Books, 2000.
Rothman, David J. "Meter and the Fortunes of the Numerical Imagination." In Baker.
Schmidt, Michael. Lives of the Poets. NY: Vintage, 1998.
Reading this book you might suppose women comprised no more than 5% of the human race. Women poets get very short shrift. Black poets get less. Women in the lives of white men poets have to kick a door down to get into the story. So go here to learn certain kinds of facts, but remember you are looking at a shadow play projected on a screen that is supposed by its author to be invisible.Scudiero, Maurizio. "The Italian Futurist Book." April 22, 1997.
Scully, James, ed. Modern Poetics. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1965.
Essays on poetry by Yeats, Pound, Frost, Eliot, Williams, Hopkins, Ransom, Moore, Stevens, cummings, Crane, Auden, Dylan Thomas, David Jones, & Robert Lowell.- - - - . Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice. Seattle: Bay Press, 1988.
Shapiro, Karl. Prose Keys to Modern Poetry. NY: Harper & Row, 1962.
30 essays on poetry by poets and critics including Poe, Baudelaire, Eliot, Pound, Yeats, Stevens, Whitman, Rimbaud, Hopkins, Owen, Auden, Williams, cummings, Jeffers, Crane, and Lawrence. Some overlap with Scully.Small, Judy Jo. Positive as Sound: Emily Dickinson's Rhyme. Athens: U Georgia P, 1990.
Presents Dickinson's rhymes as a practice opposed to the one described by Wimsatt: Dickinson's rhymes foreground sound and the signifier, working to unsettle rather than condense and confirm our sense of a poem's subject and statement.Smith, Barbara Herrnstein. Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poens End. Ann Arbor: U Michigan.
Since poems have to go before they stop, this comprises an excellent introduction to poetic structure, both formal and thematic.Solt, Mary Ellen. "A World Look at Concrete Poetry." http://www.ubu.com/papers/solt/index.html
Stevens, Wallace. "Adagia." Excerpts in Ramazani Vol. 1, & in Scully.
- - - - . "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words." In Scully; excerpt in Ramazani.
Thompson, John. The Foundation of English Meter.
Turco, Lewis. The New Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics.
Hanover: UP of New England, 1986.
A classic reference, defining both common and esoteric verse forms.
Tucker, Herbert F. “Dramatic Monologue and the Overhearing of Lyric.” Lyric Poetry: After New Criticism, ed. Chaviva Hošek & Patricia Parker. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985.
Vickers, Nancy. "Diana Described: Scattered Woman and Scattered
Rhyme." Writing and Sexual Difference. Ed. Elizabeth Abel. Chicago:
U Chicago P, 1982.
Watson, Roderick. Introduction. The Poetry of Scotland. Edinburgh UP, 1995.
Watson, Steven. Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde.
NY: Abbeville Press, 1991.
Poets, painters, photographers, Dada performers: here they are in a heavily illustrated and wonderfully written text.Whitman, Walt. "Preface to Leaves of Grass." In Shapiro; excerpt in Ramazani Vol. 1.
Williams, Miller. Patterns of Poetry: An Encyclopedia of Forms. Baton Rouge: LSUP, 1986.
A concise handbook with full defintions and examples. Highly recommended.Williams, William Carlos. "Introduction to The Wedge." In Allen.
- - - - . "Introduction to Kora in Hell." Excerpt in Ramazani Vol. 1.
Williamson, Alan. "On the Survival of Pentameter." Ironwood 24.
Wimsatt, W.K. The Verbal Icon: Studies in the Meaning of Poetry. UP of Kentucky, 1954.
A classic of New Criticism. Contains cornerstone arguments on "The Intentional Fallacy," "The Affective Fallacy," and "The Concrete Universal," as well as the essay we will, "One Relation of Rhyme to Reason," on the semantic functions of rhyme. Contrast this with Dickinson's rhyme as discussed by Small, and see also Easthope's remarks on rhyme in Pope vs. rhyme in the medieval ballad.Yeats, William Butler. "A General Introduction for My Work." In Scully; excerpt in Ramazani Vol. 1.