X. J. Kennedy
John Frederick Nims
W. D. Snodgrass
When free verse and its many movements seemed to dominate
poetry, other writers worked steadfastly, insistently, and
majestically in traditional forms of rhyme and meter.
Such poets as Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, Derek Walcott, and
Richard Wilbur used sonnets, villanelles, blank verse, and many
other forms to create dazzling, lasting work. Their writing posed a
counterpoint to free verse, sustained a tradition in English
language verse, and eventually inspired the movement called New
Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets collects
interviews with some of the most influential poets of the last
fifty years. William Baer, editor of The Formalist asks
incisive questions that allow writers to discuss in detail a wide
range of topics related to their work, methods of composition, and
the contemporary poetry scene.
Maxine Kumin reflects on being a woman poet during a period in
which women were not encouraged to submit to journals. With clarity
and passion, Walcott remembers the impetus of his famous "Eulogy to
W. H. Auden." British poet Wendy Cope talks about the differences
between how her barbed poems are received in England and abroad.
The conversations return continually to the serious matter of
poetic craft, especially the potential power of form in poetry.
These well-paced conversations showcase poets discussing their
creative lives with insight and candor. The sum total of their
forthright opinions in Fourteen on Form not only
elucidates the current situation of the art form but also serves as
a primer for understanding the fundamental craft of poetics.
William Baer is a professor of English at the University of
Evansville and the editor of The Formalist. He edited
Elia Kazan: Interviews and Conversations with Derek
Walcott (both published by University Press of Mississippi).