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Journals

Here are four journals that I highly recommend.  You may be able to find them in specialty magazine shops.  Subscription information and addresses will be added soon.

The Cumberland Poetry Review I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't yet seen an issue of this magazine, but I know that it publishes a great deal of good formalist poetry.

The Dark Horse This magazine, published in England, is a joint venture of English and American poets, with contributions from both.  (Poems, articles and interviews.)

Edge City Review I haven't seen a copy of this journal, but I hear it's good.

The Formalist Although this is a relatively new magazine, it has become the foremost journal publishing formalist poetry in the United States.  (Poems and articles.)

The Lyric The Lyric publishes poems only and awards yearly prizes.  The emphasis is on short, heavily metered, rhymed poems with light, upbeat or inspirational subjects.  For more serious poetry, read The Formalist.  (Poems only.)

 

Books

The Poet's Handbook

by Judson Jerome; Writer's Digest Books, 1980

This is the book which single-handedly turned me from a free-verse poet into a metered poet.  Mr. Jerome explains the technical aspects of poetry in a lucid, fascinating and entertaining style.  Jerome is now deceased, but this book can still be found in libraries and book stores, and in the used-book sections of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com).

 

On Being a Poet

by Judson Jerome; Writer's Digest Books, 1984

This is a companion volume to The Poet's Handbook in which Mr. Jerome delves more deeply into the issues surrounding poetry and the writing process, and how poetry relates to one's life and experiences.  It can be found in the used-book sections of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com).

 

The Poet and The Poem

by Judson Jerome; Writer's Digest Books, 1974, 1979

I haven't finished reading this book.  So far, I am finding it to be more comprehensive but less readable than Jerome's later books (above).

 

Can Poetry Matter?  Essays on Poetry and American Culture

by Dana Gioia; Graywolf Press, 1992

This is an excellent, well-written and highly readable collection of articles by the unofficial leader of the "new formalist" movement.  Mr. Gioia's perspectives are unique and sometimes controversial.  The title article alone is worth the price.

 

Missing Measures:  Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter

by Timothy Steele; The University of Arkansas Press, 1990

This is an extremely dense and scholarly study of why meter was abandoned in the 20th century.  It is an interesting book, but it is not light reading.

 

All the Fun's in How You Say a Thing:  An Explanation of Meter and Versification

by Timothy Steele; Ohio University Press, 1999

This is an accessible and comprehensive instructional book.  However, some of Steele's theories are non-standard, especially his scansion method, as I explain here in my article on scansion.  For some formalist poets, this book is the Bible, but in my view, Judson Jerome's The Poet's Handbook is the better book for beginners.

 

The Careful Writer:  A Modern Guide to English Usage

by Theodore M. Bernstein; Atheneum, 1965

Although this is not a book on poetry, I include it here because it is the best grammar book that I have read, and I have read quite a few.  Although it was published in 1965, the English language changes so slowly that almost everything in the book is still up-to-date.  Mr. Bernstein was a writer for the New York Times who is now deceased.  This book is out of print but is still available in libraries and some second-hand book stores.  It can most likely be found in the used-book sections of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble (www.bn.com).

 

 

Poetry Collections

 

Rebel Angels:  25 Poets of the New Formalism

Edited by Mark Jarman and David Mason; Story Line Press, 1996

This is an anthology containing poems by many of the best "new formalist" poets writing today.

 

A Formal Feeling Comes:  Poems in Form by Contemporary Women

Edited by Annie Finch; Story Line Press, 1994

Sixty-one women poets are represented in this anthology; but what makes it especially interesting is that each poet has written a short article explaining her attraction to formal poetry.

 

Thomas Hardy:  Selected Poems

Edited by Robert Mezey; Penguin Books, 1998

A well-chosen selection of Thomas Hardy's poems, with notes on the poems and a chronology of the poet's life.

 

The Poetry of E.A. Robinson

Edited by Robert Mezey; The Modern Library, 1999

A well-chosen selection of E.A. Robinson's poems, with notes on the poems and commentaries.