March/April 1996 Cover Image

Modernism & Continuing Myths of Closure

Article Image

Ira Sadoff
Most of us over forty grew up with the New Criticism, the academic arm of the Modernist movement, with its advocacy of "organic form," "ambiguity," "paradox" and "tension" (a term that originated as an evaluative poetic term in 1938; its author was Allen Tate). Tension is not inscribed in any poetic bible; neither is paradox, though Cleanth Brooks insisted that "the language of poetry is the language of paradox."
Read more...


Defining Formalism: Conspicuous Repetition & the Multiplicity of Forms

Article Image

Annie Finch, Elizabeth Alexander, Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, Honor Moore, Sonia Sanchez, Anne Waldman, & Nellie Wong
When I began to edit the anthology A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women, my barely-formulated, not-yet-articulated definition of "formal poetry" was typical of a poet of our century. Though I happen to have an eccentric proclivity for non-iambic meters and hoped to find some poems in unusual metrical patterns for the book, my basic definition of "formal poetry" was, more or less, "metrical poetry." That first definition did not outlast the initial stages of the editing process.

Read more...


Karezza & Closure

Article Image

Eric Torgersen
Though it's hard to pick just one, I think my favorite nineteenth-century crackpot-idealist movement is the one that advocated a sexual technique it called, among other names, Karezza. I became aware of it by stumbling on The Karezza Method, or Magnetation, by one J. William Lloyd, a small hardcover book with a sticker on the cover proclaiming PSYCHIC SEX REVEALED, in a used book or remainder sale somewhere at some time in the seventies.
Read more...


The Inner Meaning of Poetic Form

Frederick Turner
It is becoming clear at this moment in American literary history that the most dynamic and promising trend in poetry today is the expansive movement, or the New Formalism, as it is also known. Periodicals, conferences, poetry collections, critical essays, and monographs are recognizing and celebrating this turn in poetics; young poets either embrace the new mode or at least accommodate their theory to it.
Read more...


An Interview with Marilyn Hacker

Article Image

Suzanne Gardinier
Marilyn Hacker is the author of nine books of poetry, from Presentation Piece, a Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets, which received the National Book Award in 1975, through Going Back to the River, which received a Lambda Literary Award in 1991, to her new collection, Winter Numbers, which won both the Lenore Marshall Prize and a Lambda Literary Award,and her Selected Poems 1965–1990, which received the 1995 Poets' Prize.
Read more...