A few items worth your time:
Grace Cavalieri on Moira Egan's Hot Flash Sonnets Passager Books. 69 pgs:
Moira Egan’s triumph is here—a poetic victory for all, women and men—impeccable sonnets of classic frame containing the grammar of the day. This is prize writing. Poetry is a kind of behavior and Egan’s is mischievous, witty, wise, perceptive and just plain adorable at times, as she declaims the body’s progress toward maturity. She displays the many states of womanhood with the journey’s full potential, more interesting every page.
The Big Father Essay by Jeff Oaks from At Length:
In the fall of 2009, while we were discussing Joe Brainard’s I Remember, one of my writing students said that she thought Brainard’s book, which she loved, was a kind of one-off project. He’d been “lucky” to discover the form of that book, which repeats the phrase “I remember….” at the start of every entry. Surely no one else could get away with that kind of artifice in memoir anymore, she said. Many in the class agreed.
So I set that up as a task for that class—to find a structure or repeating phrase that they might use to write about their own autobiographical material. We had talked about the variety of structures—sonnets, sestinas, and so on—that poets could use to generate work. What were structures that prose writers might use? That was the first question. Is any repeating form simply a gimmick, or did the particular phrase affect what could be remembered? That was the question I didn’t pose directly to them, but hoped they’d find out for themselves.
For the first assignment I gave that class, adapted from an exercise by Carol Bly in her book Beyond the Writers’ Workshop, I asked them to write a 5000-word autobiography in three days. In addition, because I’d recently been irritated by a lack of sentence-level attention among undergraduates, I made a rule that they couldn’t use the same sentence structure twice in a row. I had to remind them of the five basic sentence types—fragment, simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex—that they had to work with.
Shanna Compton's review of Dara Wier's You Good Thing:
Start with the title—its pronoun, that boldly caps-locked YOU on the cover. This is where each of the poems in You Good Thing begins. Contemplate its transformation from person into thing, into object of contemplation. Wonder about that sweet but somewhat noncommittal descriptor good. These are the book’s fundamental questions. But readers of Wier’s previous work will know not to expect any fixed answers: Her poetics relies on destabilization, and she has a penchant for mystery. Her narratives, where they exist, are heightened by uncanny imagery amid occasional drifts of abstract wordplay. Her method of meaning has been characterized as one of accrual, but she also enjoys reversal, negation, and collision. Her moves tend to be tentative or interrogatory rather than declarative. Sometimes she grounds the fluctuations of her work by choosing to constrain them with regular stanza patterns or pre-determined forms, as she has here.
Described in the publisher’s copy as a book of “loose sonnets,” Dara Wier’s new collection indeed contains forty-two identically sized poems, each with the requisite fourteen lines, and all but two are addressed to you. If readers enter the collection expecting love poems, they won’t be disappointed: “Is 250 years a very long time? I don’t think so, and you? / For a good long time, I plan to love you,” she promises in one of the most straightforward pieces in the book, “You Are Our 3rd Destination and Our 9th Destiny.” “For you / I believe in forever. I mean this, literally.” This is Wier’s one sure thing, and as absolute as she’s willing to get.
Is "Poetry Genius" genius? (ed. note: Tom Lehman is no relation to David Lehman)