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A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry I agree wholeheartedly with those reviewers, critics, and Goodreads subscribers who have lavished their praise upon this thrilling book Perhaps every compliment within possibility has already been bestowed I will offer only this idiosyncratic observation the book s subtitle irks me I want to substitute the phrase imagining of for imagination of, because it is we writers, we poets, we human beings who activate the mental imagining of poetry and its vivifying forms.From the perspective of I agree wholeheartedly with those reviewers, critics, and Goodreads subscribers who have lavished their praise upon this thrilling book Perhaps every compliment within possibility has already been bestowed I will offer only this idiosyncratic observation the book s subtitle irks me I want to substitute the phrase imagining of for imagination of, because it is we writers, we poets, we human beings who activate the mental imagining of poetry and its vivifying forms.From the perspective of Mr Hass, form is an expressive and dynamic force, The way the poem embodies the energy of the gesture of its making page 3, hardcover edition A poet must nourish his her formal imagination, the intuitions that shape a work of art ibid , by listening attentively to the complex rhythms and pulses of language Mostly they poets listen and record what they are just hearing or have just heard page 113, hardcover edition.Accordingly, I will task myself with listening with listening reverently to the many exemplary poems chosen by Mr Hass for publication within these pages I will read these poems aloud, record my voice, then listen to the recordings In this way, I can transform the immensely significant notes of Mr Hass into my own personal how to write poetry guide, an essential handbook for training my own intuitive imaginings Not quite a little book, and not quite the font of revelation I d hoped it would be, either Hass is always interesting, readable and entertaining, and his knowledge of poetry is encyclopedic However, if you re looking for a book that will give you insight into why certain poets break their lines or stanzas the way they do, you re not really going to find that here, because each poem is kind of an ideogram of itself If you re strictly looking for examples of forms, this is a useful handbook B Not quite a little book, and not quite the font of revelation I d hoped it would be, either Hass is always interesting, readable and entertaining, and his knowledge of poetry is encyclopedic However, if you re looking for a book that will give you insight into why certain poets break their lines or stanzas the way they do, you re not really going to find that here, because each poem is kind of an ideogram of itself If you re strictly looking for examples of forms, this is a useful handbook But if you re looking for greater insight into lineation and form itself, and what makes a poet decide to move his or her poem a certain way, I didn t find much help here In Hass defense, perhaps that can ONLY be discovered in each particular poet An Acute And Deeply Insightful Book Of Essays Exploring Poetic Form And The Role Of Instinct And Imagination Within Form From Former Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize And National Book Award Winning Author Robert HassRobert Hass Former Poet Laureate, Winner Of The National Book Award, And Recipient Of The Pulitzer Prize Illuminates The Formal Impulses That Underlie Great Poetry In This Sophisticated, Graceful, And Accessible Volume Of Essays Drawn From A Series Of Lectures He Delivered At The Renowned Iowa Writers WorkshopA Little Book On Form Brilliantly Synthesizes Hass S Formidable Gifts As Both A Poet And A Critic And Reflects His Profound Education In The Art Of Poetry Starting With The Exploration Of A Single Line As The Basic Gesture Of A Poem, And Moving Into An Examination Of The Essential Expressive Gestures That Exist Inside Forms, Hass Goes Beyond Approaching Form As A Set Of Traditional Rules That Precede Composition, And Instead Offers Penetrating Insight Into The True Openness And Instinctiveness Of Formal CreationA Little Book On Form Is A Rousing Reexamination Of Our Longest Lasting Mode Of Literature From One Of Our Greatest Living Poets I liked this book, especially the concept that form in poetry is about time, not space A four line stanza with breaks makes an interesting pattern on a page but the form is in the short pause after each line, and the longer pauses between stanzas It reads easily, if you like poetry if you don t you probably won t read it unless someone makes you The book is based on notes for a class he taught for people who want to write poetry but don t expect too esoteric an approach He starts with the b I liked this book, especially the concept that form in poetry is about time, not space A four line stanza with breaks makes an interesting pattern on a page but the form is in the short pause after each line, and the longer pauses between stanzas It reads easily, if you like poetry if you don t you probably won t read it unless someone makes you The book is based on notes for a class he taught for people who want to write poetry but don t expect too esoteric an approach He starts with the basics of form, 1, 2, 3, and 4 line poetry, or stanzas One line He thinks haiku could be a one line form that is conventionally presented as three lines in English translation He devotes long chapters to popular forms in English poetry, sonnet, ode, and elegy I don t much like sonnets, so this chapter dragged a little for me The chapter on odes is beautiful, with the high point being a care full reading of an ode by Keats Already with you tender is the night He makes a case that the Four Quartets by Eliot is a series of odes, in part, and that The Wasteland is an elegy without a body In summary, the book presents a lot of information and some wisdom, gracefully and vividly It may be that he does not get too far from the hands on craft that he is a master of I need a physical version of this, so I can just page through It s a good book It does a great job of taking you through examples of the form, tracing lineage, and showing the vastly different things poets can do Admittedly I skipped over a lot of the further reading material, but I would like to go back to it some afternoon This is the book that helped get me into haiku, and finally make me like Keats view spoiler Wordsworth still sucks though hide spoiler I need a physical version of this, so I can just page through It s a good book It does a great job of taking you through examples of the form, tracing lineage, and showing the vastly different things poets can do Admittedly I skipped over a lot of the further reading material, but I would like to go back to it some afternoon This is the book that helped get me into haiku, and finally make me like Keats view spoiler Wordsworth still sucks though hide spoiler A mix of poetry quotations from a particular white, male canon and dense, academic analyses of their style If that s your jam, this is your book I got a couple knowledge items out of it but, after struggling for months to finish it, I quit halfway through.The Kindle Unlimited page count is misnumbered it counts to nearly 500 pages at the halfway point where I stopped and the second half is unnumbered A minor formatting error, I suppose, since eBooks don t really have pages anyway, but A mix of poetry quotations from a particular white, male canon and dense, academic analyses of their style If that s your jam, this is your book I got a couple knowledge items out of it but, after struggling for months to finish it, I quit halfway through.The Kindle Unlimited page count is misnumbered it counts to nearly 500 pages at the halfway point where I stopped and the second half is unnumbered A minor formatting error, I suppose, since eBooks don t really have pages anyway, but it affected my reading experience especially given that the book is not a page turner Being told that I am reading 500 infinity pages deeply undermines the title of little book This book was adapted from a class that Hass taught As such, it felt like a bit of a slog at times Even so, I was able to read a lot of poetry which was incredible through this large and sometimes boring book. Consider the opening quatrain of Emily Dickinson s I cannot live with You I cannot live with You It would be Life And Life is over there Behind the ShelfIts lines alternate between iambic trimeter and iambic bimeter, a shortening of Dickinson s usual alternating iambic tetra and trimeters hymn form There are no end rhymes unless you consider Life and Shelf to be off rhymes Its subject Life is abstract, and there is no imagery or movement until over there Behind the shelf Each of t Consider the opening quatrain of Emily Dickinson s I cannot live with You I cannot live with You It would be Life And Life is over there Behind the ShelfIts lines alternate between iambic trimeter and iambic bimeter, a shortening of Dickinson s usual alternating iambic tetra and trimeters hymn form There are no end rhymes unless you consider Life and Shelf to be off rhymes Its subject Life is abstract, and there is no imagery or movement until over there Behind the shelf Each of the four lines contains a reference to Life live, Life, Life, and Shelf And its ending couplet lends itself to two diametric interpretations 1 Life there behind the Shelf is over or 2 Life is over there, there behind the Shelf Formally, this quatrain resembles the opening of a poetic argument of a Shakespearean sonnet, but with its lines containing fewer feet, plainer vocabulary, and a destitution of romantic decor, metaphor, and end rhymes End rhymes would evoke unity or synchronicity whereas the subject here is conflict and separation In this way, Dickinson s poetic form performs restraint for us, and it launches into an argument for restraint and separation.Using dozens of examples like the one just described, Robert Hass A Little Book on Form sheds light on how poetic form combines with syntax, prosody, vocabulary, juxtaposition, imagery, rhetoric, metaphors, paradox etc etc to make or break a poem.When I first ordered A Little Book on Form, I expected to receive a little book However, at 447 pages, the book is big, not little It takes the reader on a journey of forms, from one and two line poems to haikus, Victorian medievalism, modernism, blank and free verse, collage, prose poetry and procedural poetics, among others The book is little only in relation to the vast expanse of its subject matter The volume succeeds by being high level and methodical without skimping on specificity and plenty of interesting examples Besides being a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Hass is a scholar and this book brings you into his master classroom I felt like I was attending his Iowa workshop where I understand Hass once taught this material It seems to be the real deal, and I expect that I will be coming back to this little book again and again A good rehash for me of a college course, Versification, that I took with Robert Fitzgerald many years ago in college It contains a lot of examples, goes beyond the set forms and meters, and provides an excellent history of each. Having read Schmidt s book that covers the work of 50 modern poets my thoughts posted here , I now wanted to read a book to help me understand the art of poetry, so I chose this.This book is divided into two parts, the first is like an intro of the mechanics of poetry Hass, in using examples of poetry and extracts of one to four lines, gets you comfortable about thinking about rhymes and sequences before he launches into the second part the form As I kept reading, I understood this to mean Having read Schmidt s book that covers the work of 50 modern poets my thoughts posted here , I now wanted to read a book to help me understand the art of poetry, so I chose this.This book is divided into two parts, the first is like an intro of the mechanics of poetry Hass, in using examples of poetry and extracts of one to four lines, gets you comfortable about thinking about rhymes and sequences before he launches into the second part the form As I kept reading, I understood this to mean a template, where there are different kinds and have names like Blank Verse, Sonnet and Ode, I give the complete list below.Some parts were harder to grasp than others but I realised how big this subject is and liked how Hass not just tried to explain each form with examples but for some he showed how it developed through the ages to modern times I also found it helpful how through the book he listed further reading sections to help me continue my journey and further my understanding of this art It s the kind of book that invites you to re read parts of it again and again, which I would not hesitate to do as it had a vast example of poets and poetry, some from the East I also found the end chapters helpful detailed examples of prosody, demonstrating how stresses and metering work with a quick run down of some poetry tech terms Overall, I thought it was a good book to start with as a beginner who is interested in this subject Forms included Blank VerseSonnetSestinaVillanelleOdeElegySatireGeorgicProse formsAlso, variable stanzas, difficult forms and mixed forms have a chapter each and discussed in depth

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