Questions of Possibility

Questions of Possibility : Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form

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Questions of Possibility examines the particular forms that contemporary American poets favor and those they neglect. The poets' choices reveal both their ambitions and their limitations, the new possibilities they discover and the traditions they find unimaginable. By means of close attention to the sestina, ghazal, love sonnet, ballad, and heroic couplet, this study advances a new understanding of contemporary American poetry. Rather than pitting "closed" verse against "open" and "traditional" poetry against "experimental," Questions of Possibility explores how poets associated with different movements inspire and inform each other's work. Discussing a range of authors, from Charles Bernstein, Derek Walcott, and Marilyn Hacker to Agha Shahid Ali, David Caplan treats these poets as contemporaries who share the language, not as partisans assigned to rival camps. The most interesting contemporary poetry crosses the boundaries that literary criticism draws, synthesizing diverse influences and establishing surprising affinities. In a series of lively readings, Caplan charts the diverse characteristics and accomplishments of modern poetry, from the gay and lesbian love sonnet to the currently popular sestina.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 176 pages
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 1423756630
  • 9781423756637

Review quote

"Poetic discourse in the century past was taken up disproportionately by what David Caplan, in this excellent book, calls 'the prosody wars.'... Caplan has the eminently reasonable idea of seeing what it is that poets are actually doing with poetic form.... Drawing from the works of Adrienne Rich, Anthony Hecht, Derek Walcott, and Seamus Heaney, among others, Caplan has written a book that working poets and serious readers of poetry alike will find of great value."--Virginia Quarterly Review"In a lively, intelligent study unencumbered by the jargon that infests much current work, Caplan offers a sensitive and convincing consideration of poetic form within social and political contexts.... Caplan's study is valuable.... Highly recommended."--Choice"David Caplan's Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form is a good and necessary book that teaches or reinforces some vital lessons about poetry and poetic form.... An astute book that offers much, supplying a
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