David Wagoner selected a sonnet by Ronald Wallace for the 2009 edition of The Best American Poetry. Wallace, who once wrote a sonnet a day for 365 days, wrote "No Pegasus" on the back of a boarding pass to escape from conversation with a garrulous salesman.
Ed Ochester has written,
“Whenever I hear people lament the loss of traditional forms, I try to give them a brief lecture on organic form AND I try to point them to the poetry of Ron Wallace, who is a master of the sonnet, the sestina, etc. And does them so gracefully in contemporary diction that a reader may not be aware that Wallace is writing in a conventional form. And, more important that mere formality, it’s all done from the heart."
Here is Wallace's poem "The Friday Night Fights" from Ochester's anthology American Poety Now (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007). Note Wallace's characterization of Howard Cosell, the loquacious sportscaster with the melodramatic voice, who sparred verbally with Ali, covered boxing, and was a fixture on "Monday Night Football."
The Friday Night Fights
Every Friday night we watched the fights.
Me, ten years old and stretched out on the couch;
my father, in his wheelchair, looking on
as Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson
fought and won the battles we could not.
Him, twenty-nine, and beat up with disease;
me, counting God among my enemies
for what he’d done to us. We never touched.
But in between the rounds we’d sing how we’d
Look sharp! Feel sharp! & Be sharp! with Gillette
and Howard Cosell, the Bela Lugosi of boxing.
Out in the kitchen, my mother never understood
our need for blood, how this was as close as we’d get
to love—bobbing and weaving, feinting and sparring.
-- Ronald Wallace