Why are poems important? What do people mean when they use the word prosody? How does a poem read and sound? How does a poem's shape--its form--help to create its meaning? Sound and Form in Modern Poetry provides useful answers to these questions for readers of poetry. Through careful attention to the poems of modern masters, the book offers an accessible guide to the way today's poems really work, and to the way they are linked in style to poems of earlier times.
Poet, critic, and editor Robert McDowell has updated this classic text in the light of the poetic and critical developments of the last three decades. Segments on Dickinson, Robinson, Frost, Jeffers, and Lowell, among other poets, have been greatly expanded, and Ashbery, Creeley, Ginsberg, Hall, Kees, Kumin, Levertov, Levine, O'Hara, Plath, Rich, Simpson, and Wilbur added, among others. The epilogue discusses a new generation of poets whose works will likely be read well into the next century-- among others, Thomas M. Disch, Rita Dove, Dana Gioia, Emily Grosholz, Mark Jarman, Molly Peacock, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Timothy Steele, Mary Swander, and Marilyn Nelson Waniek.
Over the last ten years, the most inspiring topic of conversation and argument among poets and their readers has been the resurgence of narrative and traditional forms. The new Sound and Form in Modern Poetry is a seminal text in this discussion, examining not only this movement but all of the important developments (Dadaism, Surrealism, Imagism, Language Poetry, and the Confessional School) that have defined our poetry in the twentieth century and have set the stage for poetry's continued life in the twenty-first. The original Sound and Form in Modern Poetry enjoyed extensive classroom use as a text; the revised version promises to be even more accessible, and more essential, for years to come.
The late Harvey Gross was Professor of Comparative Literature, State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Robert McDowell is publisher and editor of Story Line Press, and is also poet, critic, translator, fiction writer, and essayist.