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Old 10-30-2017, 11:27 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
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It strikes me that Quincy is right. Whatever the failings of the New Formalists, they helped to bring form more to the forefront. Mainstream writers like Natasha Trethewey and Michael Robbins both make regular use of meter and rhyme.

The Rebel Angels bit always struck me as comical. There's nothing rebellious in what they were doing, and trying to characterize themselves as such always struck me as silly rhetorical decision; they merely refused to abandon two tools in the poet's toolbox. Some of them took other tools out. I came across some writers I'm glad I did in that collection (Emily Grosholz, Sam Gwynn, Charles Martin) but I found most of it mediocre. Often well executed, mind you, just not my cup of tea.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:44 AM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Location: Portland, OR
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I would not be surprised if more than a few Spherians have already read this, but here is a short piece by A.E. Stallings of relevance Why No One Wants to be a New Formalist.
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:15 PM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,854

I don't have access to my books right now, so I can't quote, but the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (which everyone should own) calls New Formalism more a marketing strategy than an actual movement. That definition seems astute and not, as some readers may find it, damning. Movements as they decompose tend to trap the artists associated with them.

I will take this time to remind everyone of this great and hilarious poster created when Rick Mullin and I did a reading at the very-much-not-formalist Son of a Pony reading series. "Cutting Edge Neo-Formalists"!!!:

Last edited by Orwn Acra; 10-30-2017 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 10-31-2017, 03:09 PM
Michael Juster Michael Juster is offline
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I'm actually a fan of the reviewer, Patrick Kurp, who writes a thoughtful blog called Evidence Anecdotal.
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Old 10-31-2017, 04:38 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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To argue about free verse versus form in poetry makes little sense to me. It won't get people who like writing in form to stop doing so, and it won't get free verse writers to change their practice or their opinions. To ask people who write in form to discuss their practices makes more sense, because there is a group of writers who like form and who will be interested in hearing what the most respected writers in the field (or at least some of them) have to say about the matter. I haven't read Baer's interviews, but I may do so in the future. Kurp's statement that some writers have more interesting comments than others is no surprise to me. The best argument for the utility of writing in form is to write a good poem in form. I would rather spend my time trying to do that than arguing about the advantages of form.

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Old 10-31-2017, 07:17 PM
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Michael Ferris Michael Ferris is offline
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I think that's well said, Susan. I'm in the 'write a good poem' camp.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:22 AM
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Gail White Gail White is offline
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Location: Breaux Bridge, LA, USA
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Personally, I DID have big hopes for New Formalism and I still hope that rhyme and meter are back to stay, if only in their little niche. But I've given up the hope I long cherished of one day seeing an all-formalist issue of POETRY, or "taking poetry back" for the English tradition...
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Old 11-02-2017, 07:15 AM
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Jennifer Reeser Jennifer Reeser is offline
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Location: Louisiana
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Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post

I lost faith in the movement in the aughts when Dana Gioia had what was basically his own press write a laudatory critical assessment of his own work and then had a free copy of this propaganda book handed out to everyone at the West Chester conference. Gee, thanks! How generous! All praise Chairman Mao! Just like Donald Trump having his own news network.
Aaron, this is hysterical, and something I had not known about, before. I developed in isolation, outside New Formalism, and this event probably preceded my introduction to it. Thanks for the laugh this early in the day. And bravo, on the win at Poets Respond. It's a fine poem.


Last edited by Jennifer Reeser; 11-02-2017 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 12:13 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you very much, Jennifer. And congrats on your poem in Poets Respond:

There should be a collection of memoirs of the West Chester Conference. I would love to read the experiences of others there.
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:48 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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I never had any experiences there. I had one episode and 1/3 to 1/2 of an occurrence. I had a pretty good time most of the time. I can't speak for anyone else except myself.
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