A Time for Form

So I’ve never claimed to be a formalist. I’ve tried my hand at sonnets and ghazals, but I often prefer to invent new forms for each poem. But the other day I was trying to write a poem whose content needed to be returned to again and again. I wanted a looping effect. I tried that organically, but it wasn’t working. Then I turned to the good old villanelle and the cycle, repetends all a landed perfectly (a few hours of wrangling later).

Which again leads me to think that all forms no matter how old, common, rare, or structured are organic for certain occasions.

In my freelance writer life, I’ve been writing ACT-like English passages that must have certain errors, subjects, lengths, alternatives (answers), and spacing. The work of writing these feels so similar to piecing a puzzle of poetry together. When I complete a passage, there is that satisfaction of accomplishment. MFA skills translating into the paying world. I also feel a certain amount of guilt for creating new material with which to torture poor high school students.

Enjoy this link to the english languages most popular villanelle. One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

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