The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms

Mark Strand - 2000
    But distinguished poets Mark Strand and Eavan Boland have produced a clear, super-helpful book that unravels part of the mystery of great poems through an engaging exploration of poetic structure. Strand and Boland begin by promising to "look squarely at some of the headaches" of poetic form: the building blocks of poetry. The Making of a Poem gradually cures many of those headaches.Strand, who's won the Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship and has served as U.S. Poet Laureate, and Boland, an abundantly talented Irish poet who has also written a beautiful book of essays on writing and womanhood, are both accustomed to teaching. Strand, now at the University of Chicago, and Boland, a Stanford professor, draw upon decades in the classroom to anticipate most questions.Ever wonder what a pantoum is? A villanelle? A sestina? With humor, patience, and personal anecdotes, Strand and Boland offer answers. But the way they answer is what makes this book stand out. The forms are divided into three overarching categories: metrical forms, shaping forms, and open forms. "Metrical forms" include the sonnet, pantoum, and heroic couplet. "Shaping forms" explains broader categories, like the elegy, ode, and pastoral poem. And "open forms" offers new takes on the traditional blueprints, exploring poems like Allen Ginsberg's "America."Each established form is then approached in three ways, followed by several pages of outstanding poems in that form. First, the editors offer a "page at a glance" guide, with five or six characteristics of that specific form presented in a brief outline. For example, the pantoum is defined like this:   1) Each pantoum stanza must be four lines long.   2) The length is unspecified but the pantoum must begin and end with the same line.   3) The second and fourth lines of the first quatrain become the first and third line of the next, and so on with succeeding quatrains.   4) The rhyming of each quatrain is abab.   5) The final quatrain changes this pattern.   6) In the final quatrain the unrepeated first and third lines are used in reverse as second and fourth lines.With this outline, it's easy to identify the looping pantoum. In the second piece of the pantoum section, Strand and Boland include a "History of the Form" section, again condensed to one page. Here, we learn that the pantoum is "Malayan in origin and came into English, as so many other strict forms have, through France." Indeed, both Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire tried their hands at the pantoum. As always, Strand and Boland offer some comparison to the other forms, which helps explain why a poet might choose to write a pantoum over, say, a sonnet or a sestina:"Of all verse forms the pantoum is the slowest. The reader takes four steps forward, then two steps back. It is the perfect form for the evocation of a past time." Next, the editors include "The Contemporary Context," which introduces several of the pantoums of this century. Finally, in what may be the book's best feature, they provide a close-up of a pantoum, an approach they repeat for each form discussed. In this case, it's the "Pantoum of the Great Depression" by Donald Justice. The editors offer some biographical information on Justice, and then they map out how that specific poem gets its power. This "poet's explanation" of the workings of a poem is invaluable, especially when it comes from leading poets such as Stand and Boland. What's more, these remarks are transferable. Reading how Strand and Boland view a dozen poems transforms the way one reads. With any future poem, you can look for what Strand and Boland have found in the greats.The editors offer their readers a great start, with a list for further reading and a helpful glossary. If anything can get a person excited about poetry, this selection of poems can -- though the editors, as working poets, readily admit their choices are idiosyncratic. Gems here include the best work of lesser-known poets, including several "poets' poets." For example, Edward Thomas, a prominent reviewer in his day and a close friend of Robert Frost's, is represented by "Rain," an absolutely brilliant blank-verse poem which begins:      Rain, midnight rain, nothing but wild rain      On this bleak hut, and solitude, and me      Remembering again that I shall die      And neither hear the rain nor give it thanks      For washing me cleaner than I have been       Since I was born into this solitude. Thomas's poem -- and other treasures here -- introduces readers to what and how poets read to learn to make poems. Of course, many of the usual suspects are found here, but the surprises are exciting, and even the old favorites seem new when the editors explain why and how a particular poem seems beautiful. This is particularly evident in their discussion of Edna St. Vincent Millay's rushing, initially breathless sonnet "What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and How, " which reads:      What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,      I have forgotten, and what arms have lain      Under my head till morning, but the rain      Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh      Upon the glass and listen for reply,       And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain      For unremembered lads that not again      Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.       Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree      Nor knows what birds have vanquished one by one,      Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:       I cannot say what loves have come and gone,       I only know that summer sang in me      A little while, that in me sings no more. In the "close-up" section, Strand and Boland offer an biographical paragraph that mentions that in 1923, Millay became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. They then discuss Millay's "distinctive and unusual" approach to the sonnet form: "Instead of taking the more leisurely pace of the public sonnet that had been the 19th-century model, she drove her sonnets forward with a powerful lyric music and personal emphasis."The editors point out Millay's heavy reliance on assonance and alliteration, and then note how she takes advantage of the different tempos the sonnet offers:"Here she uses her distinctive music and high diction to produce an unusually quick-paced poem in the first octave and then a slower, more reflective septet where the abandoned lover becomes a winter tree. This ability of the sonnet, to accommodate both lyric and reflective time, made it a perfect vehicle for highly intuitive twentieth-century poets like Millay."That simple explanation of the sonnet as a form able to "accommodate both lyric and reflective time" helps clarify most sonnets. But Strand and Boland are careful not to explain everything. The deepest beauty, as they explain in their introductory essays on their attraction to form, is built on mystery. And it is that attempt to understand the greatest mysteries that defines the greatest poems. Similarly, mystery often drives poets to write, as Strand explains in his essay on Archibald MacLeish's "You, Andrew Marvell," which Strand describes as the first poem he wished he had written himself in his early years as a poet:"Although I no longer wish I had written 'You, Andrew Marvell,' I wish, however, that I could write something like it, something with its sweep, its sensuousness, its sad crepuscular beauty, something capable of carving out such a large psychic space for itself&. There is something about it that moves me in ways I don't quite understand, as it were communicating more than what it actually says. This is often the case with good poems -- they have a lyric identity that goes beyond whatever their subject happens to be."With this book, Strand and Boland help quantify the explicable parts of a "lyric identity." Understanding form, the editors believe, is one way to begin understanding a poem's beauty. This lucid, useful book is a wonderful guide to that mysterious music.—Aviya Kushner

The Riverside Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer - 1986
    The most authentic edition of Chaucer's Complete Works available.- The fruit of years of scholarship by an international team of experts- A new foreword by Christopher Cannon introduces students to recent developments in Chaucer Studies- A detailed introduction covers Chaucer's life, works, language, and verse- Includes on-the-page glosses, explanatory notes, textual notes, bibliography, and a glossary

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. F: The Twentieth Century & After

Stephen GreenblattGeorge M. Logan - 1999
    Under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, the editors have reconsidered all aspects of the anthology to make it an even better teaching tool.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. B: The Sixteenth Century & The Early Seventeenth Century

M.H. AbramsLawrence Lipking - 1986
    Under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, the editors have reconsidered all aspects of the anthology to make it an even better teaching tool.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 2: The Romantic Period through the Twentieth Century

M.H. AbramsKatharine Eisaman Maus - 1962
    Under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, the editors have reconsidered all aspects of the anthology to make it an even better teaching tool.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Volume 1: The Middle Ages through the Restoration & the Eighteenth Century

M.H. Abrams - 1962
    Under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, the editors have reconsidered all aspects of the anthology to make it an even better teaching tool.

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

Margaret Ferguson - 1970
    The anthology offers more poetry by women (40 new poets), with special attention to early women poets. The book also includes a greater diversity of American poetry, with double the number of poems by African American, Hispanic, native American and Asian American poets. There are 26 new poets representing the Commonwealth literature tradition: now included are more than 37 poets from Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Caribbean, South Africa and India.

The Classic Fairy Tales

Maria Tatar - 1998
    The Classic Fairy Tales focuses on six tale types: "Little Red Riding Hood," "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Bluebeard," and "Hansel and Gretel," and presents multicultural variants and sophisticated literary rescriptings. Also reprinted are tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde."Criticism" gathers twelve essays that interpret aspects of fairy tales, including their social origins, historical evolution, psychological drama, gender issues, and national identities.A Selected Bibliography is included.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. D: The Romantic Period

M.H. AbramsJahan Ramazani - 2005
    Under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor, the editors have reconsidered all aspects of the anthology to make it an even better teaching tool.

The Norton Anthology Of American Literature

Nina Baym - 1979
    This modern section has been overhauled to reflect the diversity of American writing since 1945. A section on 19th-century women's writing is included.

Literary Theory: An Anthology

Julie Rivkin - 1997
    This anthology of classic and cutting-edge statements in literary theory has now been updated to include recent influential texts in the areas of Ethnic Studies, Postcolonialism and International StudiesA definitive collection of classic statements in criticism and new theoretical work from the past few decades All the major schools and methods that make up the dynamic field of literary theory are represented, from Formalism to Postcolonialism Enables students to familiarise themselves with the most recent developments in literary theory and with the traditions from which these new theories derive

50 Essays: A Portable Anthology

Samuel Cohen - 2003
    The carefully chosen table of contents presents enough familiarity to reassure instructors, enough novelty to keep things interesting, and enough variety to accommodate many different teaching needs. The editorial apparatus has been designed to support that variety of needs without being intrusive. In its second edition, 50 Essays continues to offer selections that instructors love to teach, with even more flexibility and more support for academic writing.

The Educated Imagination

Northrop Frye - 1963
    Dr. Frye offers, in addition, challenging and stimulating ideas for the teaching of literature at lower school levels, designed both to promote an early interest and to lead the student to the knowledge and kaleidoscopic experience found in the study of literature.Dr. Frye's proposals for the teaching of literature include an early emphasis on poetry, the "central and original literary form," intensive study of the Bible, as literature, and the Greek and Latin classics, as these embody all the great enduring themes of western man, and study of the great literary forms: tragedy and comedy, romance and irony.

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

Phillip Lopate - 1994
    Distinguished from the  detached formal essay by its friendly, conversational tone, its loose structure, and its drive toward candor and self-disclosure, the personal essay seizes on the minutiae of daily life-vanities, fashions, foibles, oddballs, seasonal rituals, love and  disappointment, the pleasures of solitude, reading, taking a walk -- to offer insight into the human condition and the great social and political issues of the day. The Art of the Personal Essay is the first anthology to celebrate this fertile genre. By presenting more than seventy-five personal essays, including influential forerunners from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Far East, masterpieces from the dawn of the personal essay in the sixteenth century, and a wealth of the finest personal essays from the last four centuries, editor Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist, displays the tradition of the personal essay in all its historical grandeur, depth, and diversity.

Good Poems

Garrison Keillor - 2002
    And here, for the first time, is an anthology of poems from the show, chosen by Keillor for their wit, their frankness, their passion, their "utter clarity in the face of everything else a person has to deal with at 7 a.m." Good Poems includes verse about lovers, children, failure, everyday life, death, and transcendance. It features the work of classic poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost, as well as the work of contemporary greats such as Howard Nemerov, Charles Bukowski, Donald Hall, Billy Collins, Robert Bly, and Sharon Olds. It's a book of poems for anybody who loves poetry whether they know it or not.