May 18, 2017

Float



Anne Carson's new book promises to be interesting. As always, she provides both amusement and food for thought as she explores form:
Float, her most ambitious publication since Nox (2010)... a boxed collection of twenty-two individually bound chapbooks in a sleek plastic case, it includes some traditional lyrics, some translations, some plays and scenes from plays—what readers might think of as lyric-dramas. It also features essays, lists, and loosely structured meditations. In fact we might say the pieces “float” in a loose network of relations, interchangeable in order and readable as individual projects, but connected by a strand of interrelated themes—the problem of representation, translation as an act of creation, and the idea of “network” itself. The book, if we can call it a book, contests not only conventional understandings of genre and readership, but, through its collective disjunction, the classificatory modes by which we comprehend our realities. Float urges us, at least implicitly, to reconsider the essential divisions we fashion between subject and object, self and other, bodies and the spaces they inhabit.

Read the full review at http://bostonreview.net/poetry/john-james-astralize-night



On the other side of the spectrum, Robert Hass book recently came out, A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry.  It's 400 pages.
As he notes in the brief introduction, this has been a work in progress for two decades. His modest goal is to explain how the “formal imagination actually operates in poetry,” the “way the poem embodies the energy of the gesture of its making.” Hass begins with analyses of a single line, then two, three, and four, which take up the book’s first 100 pages. Next, he moves on to form (blank verse, sonnet, etc.) and genre (ode, elegy, satire, prose poems, etc.), finishing up with stress and rhythm. Along the way, he draws on hundreds of examples of lines, stanzas, and complete poems from the history of poetry, which he carefully selects to illustrate his points. 
The full review is at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-hass/a-little-book-on-form/

Lately, I've been contemplating the past year's work on my desk, poems, prose, and memoir.  Both of these book offer thoughts about structure.

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