Expansive Poetry & Music Online, Recommended Books

Recommended Books

Books For Your Reading Pleasure

Updated March 1, 2000

 The list is lengthy; Save As text so you can use your word processor

EP&M books have links to Amazon, the online bookstore. If you see "available at Amazon," you can go directly there and order a book. Expansive Poetry & Music Online does not handle such transactions except for the referral; if you have a problem, contact Amazon. If not at Amazon, titles can be found by ordering from your bookstore or from the publisher, from Grolier's (1-800-234-POEM), The Gotham (1-212-719-4448), The Strand in New York, and chain stores. Out-of-print books, or privately printed books, may be available by e-mail (Arthur505@earthlink.net). On out-of-print books, PLEASE DO NOT SEND CREDIT CARD INFORMATION; this page is NOT an online bookstore.


Allen, Dick:   
Flight and Pursuit (University of Louisiana Press, 1987)

 Allen, well-versed in the New Physics, is also a superb narrative poet who writes with skill in meters. There are other books by Allen, and his work appears in all the journals, but this is a good place to start. A founder of the Expansive movement, Allen is one of its best teachers as well. Ode to the Cold War (Sarabande, 1997)
Allen's general exclusion from the New Formalists side of the Expansive movement gives the lie to the "big house" inclusiveness of that narrow movement.  While including more than a few poets whose work can only be described as free verse masquerading as meter, Allen is an expansive, witty, and intellectually rich poet, writing in a loose iambic as familiar to American verse as Robert Frost, and  who shows no apparent concern for getting the good approval of a fraternity or a focus group.

(Amazon) See review in April issue. A wonderful book by a fine poet.

Bennett, Bruce, It's Hard to Get the Angle Right,  Green Tower Press, 1997.   A collection of villanelles of a type rarely seen in English.  These poems lack the affected quality of so many English variations on French forms -- written in contemporary language, comic and ironic.  Robert Darling reviewed this in EP&M Online
Bower, Edgar, Collected Poems, Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher, 1997.

Reviewed in March issue of EP&M Online, the collected poems of a poet of quiet elegance who passed away in February of 2000 after a career of more than fifty years. "...the sort of victory that requires a lifetime of writing patiently and well." Richard Wilbur.

Bugeja, Michael: The Visionary (Orchises Press, 1996)


 Bugeja, in utilizing form, never lets the formal elements take him away from the narrative. These very strong poems, many of them about the loss of a firstborn, and the subsequent joy of adopting a daughter, are well worth more than one look.

Carper, Thomas: Fiddle Lane (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991)


 Splendid sonnets in very modern settings, from childhood to late adulthood, can tell a story in 14 lines.

Another beautiful book from Carper is From Nature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995)


 Even better than Fiddle Lane, Carper's newer book has several wonderful sequences of sonnets, including "Basho's Way".

Cherry, Kelly: God's Loud Hand (Louisiana State University Press, 1993)


 A wonderful poet -- search out other titles by her, including Death and Transfiguration, Louisiana State, and A New Pleiade, Louisiana State University, an anthology reviewed in the January 1999 issue of EP&M Online.

Clampitt, Amy: The Kingfisher (Knopf Poetry Series,1985)


 Any other book of hers is worth having as well, such as What the Light was Like (Knopf, 1993), her last, and her new Collected.

Cullen, Countee: My Soul's High Song, edited by Gerald Early


 (Anchor Books, 1991 -- re-issue) This re-issue of a long-neglected "voice of the Harlem Renaissance" gives new voice to the late poet who used classical form to re-define the meaning of black, brown, beige and tan. If you ever wondered why his father, who worked for the revolutionary DuBois, approved of his son as a poet, read this wonderful book.

Dacey, P., Jauss, David (Editors): Strong Measures (Harper Collins, 1986)


 This solid collection, ranging from Anderson to Wilbur, presents the evidence for the editors' thesis that formal prosody helps, not hinders, expression in poetry.  As with Story Line's Rebel Angels, there are many free verse poems, including several famous ones by Elizabeth Bishop, that are in free verse.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it's a bit like including a Bo Diddly song with a Charlie Parker compilation.

Darling, Robert: (Boundaries, Somers Rocks Press) This student and scholar of A.D. Hope writes with the skill of his master. Look for the name in journals. Also, Darling has a biography out of A.D. Hope, from Twayne.

Disch, Thomas: Yes, Let's: New and Selected Poems


 A sharp, witty poet with superb attention to craft. See Disch below, under criticism.  Disch, whose work as a science fiction writer is far better known (even mentioned by name in Philip Dick's trilogy), is a cutting and witty poet with beautifully polished prosody.

Dorn, Alfred Voices from Rooms; From Cells to Mindspace
If you spend time with good journals, such as Sparrow, Orbis, The Lyric, Poetry Digest, and many, many others, you know Alfred Dorn. He has two short collections from Somers Rocks Press.  Why these are his only two collections is one of the mysteries of American poetry.

Dove, Rita: Selected Poems (Pantheon, 1993)


 Poet Laureate in 1993 and 1994.

Duhamel, Denise: Kinky (Orchises, 1997) A highly original and unusual satirical poet. These poems, with their many personifications of Barbie & Ken, will crawl into the shadows in your skull. Reviewed in March 1997.

Faever, Vicki: ( , ) If you find a book by her let the Webmaster know.  Mordantly strange British poet....

Feirstein, Fred: Ending the 20th Century (QRM, 1995)


 (Quarterly Review of Literature, Volume XXXIV, 1995) Superb poems of city life. Knows the difference between a story in verse and one in prose. City Life (Story Line Press, 1991)


 Includes "The Psychiatrist at the Cocktail Party," an inspired comedy in verse. Officially, it's a sequence, but it's been done as a play several times to great effect.

New and Selected, Story Line Press, 1998.   From its beautiful Stephen Assael cover to its wide selection of Feirstein's poetry, a worthwhile book, though they "Psychiatrist at the Cocktail Party" was excerptedis strange, as Story Line has let City Life, which has the whole thing, go out of print.

Fenton, James: Out of Danger (The Noonday Press (Farrar Straus & Giroux), 1994)


 A well-known journalist, one of the best poetry readers around, and the author of evocative, powerful and unforgettable stories in verse.

Finch, Annie (Editor): A Formal Feeling Comes (Story Line, 1994)


 The best anthology yet of young and older women working in form and meter, includes an essay by each poet on why she uses form and meter.

Eve, Story Line Press, 1997. Annie Finch's Eve, her first collection, was reviewed last spring in EP&M and, like Countee Cullen and Aemelia Lanyer, offers reinterpretations of classic myths from across the world to provide a basis for a different way of looking at women. 

Fischer, Henry George, Night and Light and the Half-Light. (Pocahontas Press, 1999)

Light verse is not trite verse.  Only hacks think differently.  See Joseph S. Salemi's  review of this book in the October '99 issue.  If you can't get this book, contact  EP&M Online

Geier, Joan Austin: Mother of Tribes (Four Circles Press, 1987) This is worth looking for. Leave a message with this page if you can't find it.

Gioia, Dana: The Gods of Winter (Gray Wolf, 1991 )


Has Gioia's strongest poems.   See Criticism below.

Grosholz, Emily: Eden (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)


 Emily is widely respected as a narrative and as a lyric poet.

Gwynn, R.S.: The Drive-In (University of Missouri Press, 1986) A used bookstore special Contact this page for a selected edition of Gwynn's poetry which includes "Among Phillistines" (from The Drive-In) No Word of Farewell (Pikeman Press, 1996) Texas Poets in Concert,  and If My Song (Lisle Imprints, 1999).  Gwynn was editor for New Expansive Poetry from Story Line Press.  Gwynn is also noted for his organization of highly unusual poetry contests.

Hacker, Marilyn: Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons (WW Norton, 1995)


 (William Morrow, 1986) A gifted and passionate poet of love and many other subjects.

Harrison, Tony, The Shadow of Hiroshima,  Faber and Faber, 1995 (available through Grolier's).  Why Harrison wasn't considered as successor to the late Ted Hughes is dreary proof of something -- but probably nothing new.   Strong dramatic sequence by one of England's superb contemporary poets and playwrights.  Reviewed in EP&M.

Hecht, Anthony.   Hecht is one of the best of his generation. Just about anything of his will satisfy your need for good poetry.  A collection of his earlier poems is well worth hunting down.

Hecht, Roger, Parade of Ghosts; Burnt Offerings; Selected.  Roger Hecht, Anthony's late brother, was an immensely talented narrative poet, one of the few who published such work in the 1960's and early 1970's.  >From his inspiration came a large crop of storytellers in poetry, including Frederick Feirstein, Wade Newman, Robert McDowell, the Webmaster and others.   For his books, contact  Wade Newman who is Hecht's literary executor.

Heffernan, Michael, The Man at Home, University of Arkansas, 1988.  Another of those left out of the New Formalists group, Heffernan is one of the very few able to write terza rima in contemporary English, not the faux terza rima of Ciardi, but aba bcb cdc, etc. -- hard work but rewarding.

Hoffman, Daniel: The Middens of the Tribe (Louisiana State University Press, 1995) Daniel Hoffman's Citizen Kane, a wonderful book-length sequence performed recently by a fine cast at Lincoln Square Bookstore in Lincoln Center.   Don't miss Hoffman's annual staging of a multi-poet, multi-translation reading of the Divine Comedy near Easter time at St. John the Divine in New York.

Hope, A.D.: Selected 1948-1976 (Carcanet, 1986)


Australia's and one of the English-speaking world's great poets. Never heard of him? You should feel impoverished for not knowing Hope. If they don't have it at Amazon, try Grolier's. And what is wrong with Harper Collins, for not releasing a collected from this great Australian voice?

Orpheus, Angus & Robertson, 1991,  This slim volume is the last collection published by Hope and contains some very good poems, including the comic and archetypal "Teaser Rams" and the haunting "Western Elegies."

Collected, Angus & Robertson, 1977.  Yes, it's old. Find it.

Hudgins, Andrew: After the Lost War (Houghton Mifflin, 1988) Whether or not this is still available new is open to question.  However, this book length narrative is worth hunting for (perhaps Grolier's, The Strand). It purports to be a first-person narrative telling the story of Sidney Lanier after the Civil War and recreates a lost world without sentimentality.  Hudgins has at least two new collections from Story Line as well.

Jarman, Mark: Iris (Story Line Press, 1995)


 A book-length narrative about a woman using her love of a great poet to help build a life in difficult and tragic circumstances.

Jarman, Mark and Mason, David, editors: Rebel Angels (Story Line Press, 1996) This is the second of Story Line's anthologies (the first is also on this list). It has a wide range of work from the many poets who have returned to the use of meter and form, and from a few of those who write stories in verse. Such narrative poets as Frederick Feirstein and Frederick Turner are excerpted briefly, but why Dick Allen, a founder of the Expansive Poetry movement, is excluded from this anthology is anyone's best guess. Still, it's good (reviewed in December of 1996 EP&M Online), though its somewhat preposterous introduction is (and has been) open to satire, sarcasm and rebuke, including a stinging assault in Kaufman Hall during an introduction of Richard Wilbur in 1997.

Justice, Donald: New and Selected Poems (Alfred Knopf, 1995) Donald Justice has gone back to using form and meter. He's still good at it.

Keithley, George: The Donner Party (George Braziller, Inc., 1972) This has been around a long time but it persists, and for good reason. Donner recreates events of archetypal power in American history. Look for excerpts of Keithley's new book on Galileo in Pivot, no. 46

Keller, Johanna: (,) Look for Johanna in journals, a fine poet.  Her Skull narrative poem is a disturbing and powerful work, now released in a limited edition.

Kennedy, X.J. Dark Horse (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)


 If you haven't heard XJ Kennedy sing "Dancing with the Poets at Piggy's," you could at least read it, as well as the fifty or so other fine lyrics in this book. If you can't find this one, buy another one by him. Star of the West Chester conference, still waiting for his shot at the Met.

Lake, Paul   Walking Backwards, Story Line Press, 1999.   So what if EP&M Online's review was mixed?  Asskissing sycophancy doesn't sell books, except to captive audiences.  It's an interesting book by a strong, vital poet.

Levin, Phillis: Temples and Fields (University of Georgia Press, 1988)


 Phillis is an influential poet, and this book shows why her students think so highly of her. Finding the sacred in the quotidien, with a fine lyrical sense and ear, Levin is one of the best younger poets. The After Image (Copper Beech Press, 1995)


 Levin's new book has much fine material. She is of course older now. Levin is also editor of Boulevard, a terrific journal now at the University of St. Louis.

Lewis, Gwyneth: Faxes and Parables (Bloodaxe Books, 1995 -- printed in England, but available through Grolier's) A Welsh poet, first book in English, and splendid.

Lind, Michael, The AlamoAn Epic, Houghton-Mifflin, 1997.   Now a principal editor at The Atlantic, Lind is a successful novelist and commentator.  In this book-length poem, Lind revives the use of an old stanza, ottava rima, to tell a modern variation on the Alamo story.  Reviewed in EP&M Online, this is hard to find now, as commercial presses remainder after six months.  Check the Strand, Grolier's, or Amazon. 
Martin, Charles: Steal the Bacon (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993)


 This too-unknown poet is one of America's best. Sharp, well-crafted, witty. Look for his translations of Catullus as well (also JHU Press). His new book is reviews in the January issue. What the Darkness Proposes, JHU, 1996 One to get in either hardback or soft. See review in EP&M archives.  Keller and Martin are also working on Christine de Pisan translations and Martin is reportedly close to the completion of his translation of Metamorphoses.

Mason, David: Country I Remember, The (Story Line, 1996)


The Country I Remember is a superbly written set of stories, one about John Mitchell, an ancestor of Mason's who fought in the Civil War, and about Mitchell's daughter Maggie Gresham. Both are written in a very good blank verse. Reviewed February 1997.

McDowell, Robert: Diviners, The, (Story Line, 1995)


 A book length narrative poem by a leading author of the New Narrative. If you can find it, his Quiet Money (1987) is also worth the search.

Millay, Edna St. Vincent: Collected Sonnets (Perennial Library, Harper & Row, 1988) This re-issue of one of America's great lyric poets (d. 1954), though on cheap paper, is worth every penny and more.

Collected Poetry (Harper & Row, 1995)


Better-produced than the Collected Sonnets, though still perfect bound, is an exact copy of the original collected and has all of the sonnets.

Monsour, Leslie: Gringuita Poems (Missing Measures Press, 1990) Works in form and meter with delicate poignancy.

Moore, Miles David, The Bears of Paris, Work Works, 1997.   One of the best performers on the poetry circuit, Moore also has a piercing sense of humor to offset his more serious side, both of which are revealed in this collection -- reviewed in EP&M.   Available from Amazon.

Morgan, Edwin, Collected Poems, Carcanet, 1998.  Morgan, reviewed in EP&M Online, has for many decades been one of Scotland's poetic treasures, with a range from science fiction in iambic pentameter to witty and wacky experiments with free verse.

Moore, Richard: The Mouse Whole (Negative Capability Press, 1995)


 This is the third re-issue of this now expanded mock epic, begun under the guidance of Robert Lowell. It is hilarious, and should be on your bookshelf. Moore has recorded the entire thing and, if you contact this page, purchase of a copy (with negotiations with Moore) is possible. Empires (Persea Books, 1977)


 These four dramatic monologues, in the personae of Jay Gould, Archimedes, Cleopatra and Aaron Burr, are among the best poems ever written by an American. Out of print, but can be gotten through Amazon.

Moore's latest include Pygmies and Pyramids, reviewed in January 1999 issue of EP&M, and translations for David Slavitt's Greek and Roman Drama series.  He has several articles in the  Archives of EP&M Online and is often seen in  Edge City Review

Newman, Wade (Testaments, Somers Rocks Press, 1996) How many prizes, how many publications do you have to have before someone will put out a book? Like Alfred Dorn, Newman has an armful of service stripes but no publisher. Boo -- hiss to publishers. Look for Wade's fine poems in the best journals. Also, look for Testaments from Somers Rocks Press, a fine chapbook released in October 96. You can order it through this page (See Wade Newman and the late Roger Hecht) as well as an audio tape that includes both Testaments and new and selected poems -- read by Newman.

Noguere, Suzanne: Whirling Round the Sun, 1996


 This is her first book (hard to believe, given her publication credits) and it's out. It was reviewed here in November of 1996. A very gifted lyric poet with a fine ear for meter and rhyme, she won a Nation/Discovery Award in 1996.

Patterson, Ray -- this is a red herring.  Time and again, I've been told how marvelous Patterson is, but his published work has been buried and he seems to have disappeared from journals.  Assistance would be helpful.

Peacock, Molly: Take Heart (Random House, 1989)


 M. Peacock takes pleasure and has great skill in varying traditional forms to communicate very modern lives.

Pollack, Frederick:  Happiness, Story Line Press, 1995.

Whether perceived as satire or as a fusion of Gnosticism and science fiction, this is a superb narrative. He has several other superb sequences (hint to publisher).

Prunty, Wyatt, Since the Noon Mail Stopped, Johns Hopkins, 1997.  A fine collection by a master of fusing modern story and classical form.  Reviewed in EP&M but the Webmaster is currently trying to restore that file.  Best solution:  browse to Amazon or Grolier's and buy a copy

Robinson, Edward Arlington: The Essential Robinson (Ecco, 1994)
(Amazon) Edited by Donald Hall

 This re-issue of Robinson (d. 1935) contains some of the finest short narratives written by an American or by anyone else in Robinson's lifetime.

Schaffner, M.A., The Good Opinion of Squirrels (Word Works, 1996) Reviewed in October of 1996, and available at Amazon Books.

Schnackenberg, Gjertrude, A Gilded Lapse of Time,  reviewed in EP&M Online, a brilliant book though it requires more than a glance to fully comprehend Schnackenberg's ideas and perceptions.

Slavitt, David.  Crossroads, Louisiana State Press.  Strong, vivid tour of a nightmare.  PS36539.L3, Louisiana State, 1998, vivid, witty, serious, a wide range.  Both books reviewed in EP&M.   A New Pleiade, Louisiana State, 1998, with Cherry, Galvin, Garrett, Taylor,  Chapell, and Dillard.  Contains some from books listed above, but still worth having for both Slavitt and the other poets.  Epinician Odes and Dithyrambs of Bacchylides, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998, offers Slavitt as a translator, whose efforts to transmit 2500-year-old work into contemporary language are most successful in this new volume.  Metamorphoses --  Slavitt's works, despite complaints that he takes too many liberties. Given an environment where liberty is called oppression by "critics," I hope this book sells out twenty-nine editions.

Stallings, A.E., Archaic Smile,, University of Evansville Press (2000)

A.E. Stallings, who will be reviewed on EP&M Online in April of 2000, is a gifted and young poet who last year won the Richard Wilbur Award in poetry.

Steele, Timothy: Sapphics and Uncertainties (University of Arkansas Press, 1995)

 A fine critic and poet, Steele writes with subtle skill in meter and rhyme. See Criticism below.  His new book on rhyme and meter is reviewed in  October's EP&M Online

Stokesbury, Leon, Autumn Rhythm: New and Selected Poems, University of Arkansas, 1997.  Stokesbury has been doing this for a very long time.  He's superb.  Reviewed in EP&M by Sam Gwynn.

Turner, Frederick: Genesis (Saybrook Publishing (distributed by Norton), 1988) (Amazon)

 A novel in blank verse, longer than "Paradise Lost," easier to understand and a lot more fun. Science fiction. Look also for The New World (Princeton, 1985)

 His first book length poem, contemporary setting; some consider this his best. The Return ()

Hadean Eclogues,  a fine book, Story Line Press, 1999.  Give one for the holidays.

Weiss, Theodore, Collected Poems. (Princeton University Press).  As editor with Renee Weiss of QRL for fifty-five years, Weiss single-handedly carried the narrative ball for decades while everyone else was bombarding a waiting world with the salt-shot of confessional lyrics, concrete (block?) "verse" and other fads.  His own poetry, often ignored because he was an editor, is exemplary, rich, and passionate.

Van Duyn, Mona: Firefall (Knopf, 1994)

 She has a new Collected as well.

Wilbur, Richard: Collected Poems (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1987

 Pulitzer Prize-winning, former poet laureate, winner of Frost Medal. Wilbur is good. Don't miss "Walking to Sleep" and "The Mind Reader."  Theater companies, don't miss his translations of Moliere, not only superb renditions but great acting scripts (particularly rare as Wilbur succeeds in reproducing Moliere's heroic couplets effectively).

Williamson, Greg: Silent Partner (Story Line Press, 1995)

 Brilliant young poet, wonderful in rhymed forms and in longer narratives. Won Nick Roerich Prize with this book in 1995.

Wylie, Elinor, Collected Poems -- I don't know if there is such a thing other than old copies at the Strand.  Wylie, who died far too young, was a wonderful writer, with an ear as good or better than her friend Millay's.

Poetry Criticism (very incomplete):

Bawer, Bruce: Prophets and Professors (Story Line Press, 1995)

 "Bawer is one of the few American literary journalists whose work repays the reading," Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post He's a good poet too.

Darling, Robert, A.D. Hope, a Twain literary biography, 1997.  Since Harper Collins has so far failed to provide an adequate collection of this poet's work,  you won't do badly to find out about him in Darling's fine biography and critique.

Disch, Thomas: Castle of Indolence, The(Picador, 1995 )

 With wit, an occasionally acerbic tongue, and as rich a sense of the history of the art as you're likely to get, a collection of critical essays on good, bad and indifferent contemporary poets, and on the perils of writing criticism.

Feirstein, Fred (editor) et al: Expansive Poetry (Story Line, 1990)

 This is a fine guide to the now 15-year-old movement sometimes called the New Formalists or the New Narrative (or Few Normalists as R.S. Gwynn has said), written by its founders, such as MacDowell, Gioia, Feirtein, Turner, Jarman and others. A new edition will come out soon, but try to get the original with Feirstein's introduction. It has now been replaced by R.S. Gwynn-edited New Expansive Poetry (Story Line, 1999) which has many of the same as well as new essays.

Fussell, Paul: Poetic Meter & Poetic Form(McGraw-Hill, 1979, re-issued 1993)

 For those who need theory, this book explores how meaning is conveyed by meter, looks at the function of form -- illustrated with many examples.

Gioia, Dana: Can Poetry Matter (Gray Wolf, 1992)

An essential book more for its exhumations of Robinson Jeffers and Weldon Kees than its essays beating the dead horse of academic confessional free verse. Gioia's continuous excavation of Kees is a well-deserved honor for one of America's most intriguing and influential poets.

McDowell, Robert (editor): Poetry After Modernism (Story Line Press, 1991) Essays by Carole Oles & Hilda Raz, Dana Gioa, Mark Jarman, Dick Allen (see books above), Bruce Bawer, Marilyn Nelson- Waniek, Rita Dove, Lynn Emanuel on poetry as it approaches the 21st century, its relationship to politics, feminism, race, psychoanalysis, and so on.

Moore, Richard: The Rule that Liberates (University of South Dakota Press, 1995)

 Moore, a very fine poet, is a sharp and persuasive critic. His review of the use of meter is worth the price of the book. So are a half-dozen other essays. His remarks about poetry not being magic, but an art produced by people who learn its craft, should be hammered onto the office doors of English departments and critics. Put it next to your copy of Empires, No More Bottom, The Mouse Whole   Hard to get, has a boatload of typographical errors, but worth hunting for.

Steele, Timothy: Missing Measures(University of Arkansas, 1990)

 Ostensibly a history of how poets from the late 19th century to the present have abandoned meter, it is one of the best histories of prosody you can find. His new book on meter and rhyme and other things is now out.

Prosody: (very incomplete)

Attridge, Derek: Poetic Rhythm, an Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 1996)

 A very influential critic and prosodist, much admired by Steele, Carper, and others. Has a highly original method of scansion. His perceptions of how to approach sound and rhythm are striking.

Hollander, John, Rhyme's Reason
A good, concise prosody whose author doesn't bother to hide behind theoretical or political posturings.  Prosody is for the taking by whomever uses it.

Gioia, Dana: The Gioia Prosody
This is a red herring. Gioia has not written a prosody. However, if he has time, between his daily meetings, trips, readings, the planned pre-production of his and Alva Henderson's new opera, writing, being a husband and father, organizing the West Chester conference, etc., he should write a prosody, as he knows the subject well. 
Gwynn, R.S. (Sam):
The Lone Star Poet's Prosody.   Gwynn, who knows as much about the subject as either Gioia or Steele, has not written a prosody, preferring to teach a school away from neighbor and friend...perhaps someone will encourage him, and probably will, if they read his essay in the current Dark Horse In the meantime, look for his poetry and criticism, and you can satisfy yourself a little with the reprint in our archives section ("Signposts to Poetry....")

Shapiro, Karl, and Beum, David:
A Prosody Handbook (Harper and Row, 1965, 1979) A used bookstore special, perhaps from the Strand, but is a very good review of meter and form, particularly considering that few other prosodists (published) thought in these terms when the book was published. Shapiro and Beum also discuss figures of speech, tone, color and other aspects of poetry considered quaint in the neo-Know Nothingism of the present.

Turco, Lewis: The New Book of Forms, a handbook of poetics (University Press of New England, 1986)

 Widely available, worth every penny for poets who need or want to know the essentials of any form or meter that are in general or even very rare use by poets, from blank verse to pantoums to sonnets to limericks.  Again, prosody for the taking, without posturing or hallucinations about form implying political stances.

Odds and Ends, Strange Choices

Berlinski, David, A Tour of the Calculus,   Vintage, 1995.

Once you're done with Hogben (see below), try Berlinski, who seems able to succeed even with the Webmaster where several armies of math professors had failed.  It's a witty (and to many, irritating) look at a principal mathematical tool of modern science (the other is statistical analysis), with side swipes at English department politics, neo-knownothingism,  modes of teaching math, and many other things.  Stick with it; like the Webmaster, you may discover that the calculus is neither astrology nor impossible.

Feynman, Richard: The Character of Physical Law (Modern Library, 1967, 1995)

What's this doing here? It doesn't hurt to know how science works. Don't be deterred by the title. These are seven lectures given to non-mathematicians describing how science is done, with examples from gravitation to quantum theory. It might surprise you, particularly lecture #7 where Feynman notes that "the only genuine proof in science is that a theory is wrong."  Poets would do well to look at this; so would anyone interested in the sciences.

Gleick, James: Chaos, the Makings of a New Science (Holt & Winston , 1991)

Want to find out how our view of the world has changed since 1970? You might be surprised. Highly readable, but with enough details (and bibliography) of the science to lead the truly interested on.  Though the multidisciplinary application of this work (and its sister complexity theory) has gone far beyond Gleick's examples (the Santa Fe Institute is built on such and is arguably the most important meeting ground in American science), this book is still a good primer.

Dennis Flanagan, Flanagan's Version (Vintage, 1988) Dennis Flanagan, former Editor at Scientific American (the "public" version), wrote this after retiring. It's a range of essays conveying Flanagan's understanding (an editor's comprehension, not a scientist's) for a variety of subjects in science, including the problem of cranks who seem to be scientists but are only BS artists.  NYU physicist Sokol's wicked send-up of Social Text is not included but Flanagan probably approved.

Hogben, Lancelot: Mathematics for the Million (WW Norton, 1993)

What? Without mathematics, there's no science. With no science, we're still living in the Middle Ages, where you can sign up to travel back to the era of pneumonic plague, the Inquisition and the domination of all discussion by religious (or political) authorities. If not, and you might like to at least find out something about the subject, get this book, a splendid social history and by-example approach to mathematics from the measurement of area to the calculus and statistics. Hogben insisted, like a good narrative poet, that there are reasons why such things are, that magic is the last thing you'd want from a mathematician. This does go against the Idealist approach to pure mathematics, but you'll probably survive these limits long enough to move on to modern derivatives of Cauchy and Euler -- indeed, Hogben may make that possible. M for the M has been around so long that Einstein wrote a blurb for the 4th edition (!) it is rarely out of print.

Latour, Bruno Aramis, or The Love of Technology (Harvard University Press)

This strange book, which purports to be a history of a project in mass transit in Paris called Aramis (subway cars that divided lengthwise -- the idea Francois Mitterand's), evolves into a dazzling and arcane commentary on the bizarre misapplication of centralized power and technology in this project, which cost more than a billion dollars and resulted in nothing but drawings and prototypes.  (A TLS critic described it as a perfect monument to the presidency of Francois Mitterand, though my own choice is the billion dollar replacement for the Paris Opera, a mediocre hall built by Mitterand's friends -- see Francois Mitterand et les Quarante Voleurs, a lacerating but late expose by a Le Monde reporter in 1993.)

Turner, Frederick: The Culture of Hope, (The Free Press, 1995)

Book-length essay on the seemingly inappropriate strategies of Post-Modernism, and the alternatives that might bring hope, craft and a new tradition to the arts. Informed with a polymath's understanding of sciences and art, this book's confrontation with unthinking determinism is needed, particularly with determinism's sharp resurgence guided by such evolutionary biologists as Richard Dawkins. Dawkins, whose declarations have provided great force to a revived Social Darwinism, seems impermeable, but Turner might break the glass, or at least provide a good hammer.  Expect to be roundly attacked by members of the club when reading this book, however.  Perhaps a brown paper wrapper would help. However, it is worth noting that Turner is a strong adherent to evolutionary science -- contradiction?  Better read the book; it's more honest, though harder, than simply reading a brief review when preparing for cocktail party conversation.

Imprints to Look For: (very incomplete)

Angus & Robertson:  At least someone has published a Collected for A.D. Hope, if you can find it.

Black Cat Has a fine list, including one of the best collections of translated poems by Baudelaire (Richard Wilbur's translations of this poet are unusually good.)

Collier Books(Harper-Collins):  This publisher has put out many re-issues of note, such as by E.A. Robinson, but has a hangup about a Collected for A.D. Hope.

Everyman:  This revived imprint puts out wonderful hardbacks of classical work which are well-designed, well-annotated, with hand-sewn signatures of good paper and covers that look as though the editors cared about the authors.

Faber & Faber:  Eliot's one-time publishing house, still in business, though one wonders if they might consider hiring a book designer. One can't complain about the content though.  Edwin Morgan, many others, including the completion of a fine old literary hoax with The Collected Poems of Ern Malley.

Gray Wolf:  Publishes Dana Gioia and others.

Johns Hopkins University Press - John T. Irwin, Poetry Editor Publishes Carper, Disch, Hollander, Kennedy, Martin, Grosholz, and others.

Orchises:  Publishers of Richard Moore, Edmund Pennant, Denise Duhamel, Christopher Buckley and others.

Oxford University Press: Oxford Poets Series Publishes most of Britain's, Scotland's and Ireland's hot new poets has now been cancelled for some inexplicable reason.  This series actually made a small amount of money and supported its staff, if not its poets.  Boo to Oxford UK for doing this.  Best of luck to Bloodaxe and a variety of other presses who will get this list.

Sarabande:  A fine press which publishes Dick Allen and many others.

Story Line Press:  Has a fine list of criticism, narrative poetry, even a guide by poet Michael Bugeja to getting poetry published. At present, the primary press for the Expansive movement's narrative wing but leaning heavily toward formal lyrics and criticism, some of it a seemingly vain effort to appease the politicos,  in last few years.

University of Arkansas Press Publishes Timothy Steele, Daniel Hoffman and others

University of Louisiana Press Publishes Dick Allen, Kelly Cherry

University of Michigan Press Publishes Annie Finch


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