on 29 June 1999
This little volume is the single most useful book on formal poetry I've ever owned. It explains the history and the rules of pretty much every verse form there is, with examples that make me want to run for my notebook to start playing with them myself. If you love formal poetry, you must own this book. (And if you don't, maybe it will change your mind...)
on 7 April 1998
For those who equate poetry with free verse, this book is a wonderful introduction to the rich variety of traditional English verse forms, a subject that doesn't seem to be taught in school any more. Hollander manages to make a potentially bewildering and dull corpus of material exciting and fun, through his well-chosen examples and delightful commentary. If you love poetry, if you want to learn more about poetry, or if you just want a good read, buy this book. You won't be sorry.
on 27 November 2011
Scansion? Stress? Iamb, dactyl, spondee.. purleeze. But that's all over with in 10 pages. This is just the best book ever on verse-forms. And it's not at all dry. The 3rd ed includes a Patterns in Practice supplement which you can flip through when you can't tell your villanelle from your triolet (you pronounce the t, by the way). And I do, I do - these forms have staged a remarkable comeback after the 100-year leveling between Whitman and Ginsberg. The pantoum, famously affected by John Ashbery, is the one that always catches me napping (kind of a cross between villanelle and terza rima, since you ask), while the ghazal (pron guzzle) is the new kid on the block. It's ancient, of course, but there's really just the one book on it in English (Ravishing Disunities)
NB this book is also **tiny!**
on 20 December 2015
The late John Hollander was the foremost advocate of reading poetry aloud, the key aspect this historic art form.In this short guide(3rd edition 140 pages) Hollander explains why not all verse is poetry, and in easy to follow guide helps the reader to understand the difference between the two.He clarifies succinctly why poetic 'form' is a very 'deep matter' that covers much more than phonlogical or typographical pattern and proceeds to illustarate and explain all of the terms and forms in an easy to understand manner , (derived from his university background).By far the best manual on this topic and essential reading for anyone who aspires to the 'title ' of poet.