Cover image for The making of a poem : a Norton anthology of poetic forms
The making of a poem : a Norton anthology of poetic forms
Strand, Mark, 1934-2014.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxix, 366 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
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PR1175 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PR1175 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR1175 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PR1175 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PR1175 .M275 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The anthology uses example and explanation to demonstrate the excitement and entertainment of various poetic forms, including the sonnet, the ode, the elegy and the pastoral. Included are essays by the editors describing their own personal journeys to a form for their poetic voice. Above all this anthology shows that poetic form is a continuing adventure. Poetic form is illustrated not as a series of rules but as a passionate conversation in which every reader can become involved.

Author Notes

Mark Strand was born on April 11, 1934 in Summerside on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Since his father's job resulted in many transfers, he spent his childhood in Cleveland, Halifax, Montreal, New York and Philadelphia and his teenage years in Colombia, Mexico and Peru. He received a bachelor's degree at Antioch College in Ohio in 1957, a bachelor of fine arts in painting from Yale University School of Art and Architecture in 1959, and a master of fine arts from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1962. He studied 19th-century Italian poetry in Florence on a Fulbright Grant from 1960-1961.

His first poetry collection, Sleeping with One Eye Open, was published in 1964. His other works included Reasons for Moving, Darker, The Story of Our Lives, The Late Hour, A Continuous Life, Dark Harbor, and Collected Poems: Mark Strand. In 1990, he was named the fourth Poet Laureate of the United States. He received the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1993 and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1999 for Blizzard of One.

In 1980, he felt that he had reached an impasse and stopped writing poetry for several years. During that time, he wrote several children's books including The Planet of Lost Things and Mr. and Mrs. Baby. He also wrote books on the painters EdwardHopper and William Bailey, and a collection of critical essays entitled The Art of the Real. He died of liposarcoma on November 29, 2014 at the age of 80.

(Bowker Author Biography) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was raised and educated in the United States and South America. He is the author of a book of stories, "Mr. and Mrs. Baby", several volumes of translations (Rafael Alberti and Carlos Drummond de Andrade among them), a number of anthologies (most recently "The Golden Ecco Anthology") and several monographs on contemporary artists (William Bailey and Edward Hopper). He has received many honors and grants for his poems, including a MacArthur Fellowship, and in 1990 he was chosen as Poet Laureate of the United States. He teaches in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

(Publisher Provided) Mark Strand's collection "Blizzard of One" was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

One of Ireland's and one of America's finest poets have compiled this anthology to demonstrate the forms of English poetry: metrical forms, such as the villanelle, the sonnet, the ballad, and blank verse; the shaping forms of elegy, pastoral, and ode, which determine a poem's moods and purposes; and open form, that twentieth-century innovation that, with its seemingly anarchic prosody, sets many readers off poetry. After each editor's personal remarks on poetic practice, briefly introduced sections of the book are devoted to the three kinds of form. In the section on metrical forms, each clutch of formal examples concludes with a tiny "close-up" essay on one poem in that particular form. Much more poetry than commentary appears, making the book both a splendid classroom text and, since the selections are top-drawer poems by first-rate poets, a book any poetry lover or would-be poetry lover may learn from and love. --Ray Olson

Library Journal Review

If example is the best teacher, than students new to traditional poetic forms can learn much from this collection of villanelles, sestinas, sonnets, elegies, pastorals, ballads, pantoums, odes, and other familiar structures that have shaped English poetry since Beowulf. Each chapter focuses on a single form, but explanatory material is kept to a minimum: a concise list of formal characteristics, a summary history, a short discussion of the form's contemporary context, and a brief "close up" on an individual poem. Most useful are the selections themselves, which illustrate how particular forms have been employed over time, from canonical classics by Chaucer, Shelley, and Elizabeth Bishop through newer pieces by Hayden Carruth, Michael Palmer, and Thylias Moss. The concluding section on open forms seems somewhat uncertain and conservative, barely straying from much of what precedes it, but that's to be expected given the tastes of the editors, each of whom provides a lively and personal introductory essay that young poets should find quite instructive.DFred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib. Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Mark StrandEavan BolandElizabeth BishopEzra PoundDonald JusticeEdna St. Vincent MillayGwendolyn BrooksRobert FrostRobert BrowningEmily DickinsonAdrienne Rich
Introductory Statementp. xiii
On Becoming a Poetp. xvii
Poetic Form: A Personal Encounterp. xxv
Acknowledgmentsp. xxxi
I Verse Forms
Overviewp. 3
The Villanelle
The Villanelle at a Glancep. 5
The History of the Formp. 6
The Contemporary Contextp. 8
Ernest Downson: Villanelle of His Lady's Treasuresp. 9
Edwin Arlington Robinson: The House on the Hillp. 9
William Empson: Missing Datesp. 10
Theodore Roethke: The Wakingp. 11
Elizabeth Bishop: One Artp. 11
Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Nightp. 12
James Merrill: The World and the Childp. 13
Mona Van Duyn: Condemned Sitep. 13
John Hollander: By the Soundp. 14
Hayden Carruth: Saturday at the Borderp. 15
Daryl Hine: Under the Hillp. 16
Marilyn Hacker: Villanellep. 16
Wendy Cope: Reading Schemep. 17
Jacqueline Osherow: Villanelle for the Middle of the Nightp. 18
Close-Up of a Villanelle: "One Art"p. 19
The Sestina
The Sestina at a Glancep. 21
The History of the Formp. 22
The Contemporary Contextp. 24
Edmund Spenser: Ye wastefull woodes, bear witness of my woep. 25
Philip Sidney: from Old Arcadiap. 26
Barnabe Barnes: Sestine 4 from Parthenophil and Parthenophep. 27
Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Sestina: Of the Lady Pietra degli Scrovignip. 29
Algernon Charles Swinburne: Sestinap. 30
Sir Edmund Gosse: Sestinap. 32
Rudyard Kipling: Sestina of the Tramp-Royalp. 33
Ezra Pound: Sestina: Altafortep. 34
Weldon Kees: After the Trialp. 36
Anthony Hecht: The Book of Yolekp. 37
Miller Williams: The Shrinking Lonesome Sestinap. 38
Alberto Rios: Nanip. 39
Close-Up of a Sestina: "Sestina: Altaforte"p. 41
The Pantoum
The Pantoum at a Glancep. 43
The History of the Formp. 44
The Contemporary Contextp. 45
Austin Dobson: In Townp. 45
Donald Justice: Pantoum of the Great Depressionp. 47
Carolyn Kizer: Parents' Pantoump. 48
John Ashbery: Pantoump. 49
Nellie Wong: Grandmothers's Songp. 50
J. D. McClatchy: The Methodp. 51
Close-Up of a Pantoum: "Pantoum of the Great Depression"p. 53
The Sonnet
The Sonnet at a Glancep. 55
The History of the Formp. 56
The Contemporary Contextp. 58
William Shakespeare: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?p. 59
Michael Drayton: Farewell to Lovep. 59
Mary Wroth: from Pamphilia to Amphilanthusp. 60
John Milton: Sonnet XXIII: Methought I saw my late espoused saintp. 60
John Donne: Holy Sonnet: At the round earth's imagined cornersp. 61
William Wordsworth: Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802p. 61
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandiasp. 62
John Keats: Bright Starp. 62
Christina Rossetti: from Monna Innominatap. 63
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: from Sonnets from the Portuguese (XLIII)p. 63
Gerard Manley Hopkins: Carrion Comfortp. 64
Edna St. Vincent Millay: What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and whyp. 64
Countee Cullen: From the Dark Towerp. 65
Patrick Kavanagh: Epicp. 65
E. E. Cummings: from "Tulips and Chimneys"p. 66
George Barker: To My Motherp. 66
Jane Cooper: After the Bomb Testsp. 67
Gwen Harwood: A Game of Chessp. 67
Seamus Heaney: The Haw Lanternp. 68
Denis Johnson: Heatp. 68
Henri Cole: The Roman Baths at Nimesp. 69
Mary Jo Salter: Half a Double Sonnetp. 69
Michael Palmer: Sonnetp. 70
Close-Up of a Sonnet: "What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why"p. 71
The Ballad
The Ballad at a Glancep. 73
The History of the Formp. 74
The Contemporary Contextp. 77
Anonymous: The Cherry-tree Carolp. 78
Anonymous: Sir Patrick Spensp. 79
Anonymous: The Wife of Usher's Wellp. 81
Anonymous: My Boy Williep. 82
John Greenleaf Whittier: The Changelingp. 83
Oscar Wilde: from The Ballad of Reading Gaolp. 86
Elinor Wylie: Peter and Johnp. 88
Louis MacNeice: Bagpipe Musicp. 90
John Betjeman: Death in Leamingtonp. 91
Ogden Nash: The Tale of Custard the Dragonp. 92
Gwendolyn Brooks: We Real Coolp. 94
Sterling A. Brown: Riverbank Bluesp. 94
W. S. Merwin: Ballad of John Cable and Three Gentlemenp. 95
Close-Up of a Ballad: "We Real Cool"p. 99
Blank Verse
Blank Verse at a Glancep. 101
The History of the Formp. 102
The Contemporary Contextp. 104
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey: from his translation of The Aeneidp. 105
Christopher Marlowe: from Tamburlaine the Greatp. 105
William Shakespeare: from Julius Caesarp. 106
John Milton: from Paradise Lostp. 107
Charlotte Smith: from Beachy Headp. 108
William Wordsworth: from The Preludep. 109
Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Ulyssesp. 110
Edward Thomas: Rainp. 112
Robert Frost: Directivep. 113
Richard Wilbur: Lyingp. 114
Richard Howard: Stanzas in Bloomsburyp. 117
Close-Up of Blank Verse: "Directive"p. 119
The Heroic Couplet
The Heroic Couplet at a Glancep. 121
The History of the Formp. 122
Aemilia Lanyer: from The Description of Cooke-hamp. 123
Anne Bradstreet: The Author to Her Bookp. 123
Anne Finch: A Letter to Daphnis, April 2, 1685p. 124
John Dryden: from Absalom and Achitophelp. 125
Samuel Johnson: from The Vanity of Human Wishesp. 126
Phillis Wheatley: To S. M., a Young African Painter, on Seeing His Worksp. 127
Oliver Goldsmith: from The Deserted Villagep. 128
Alexander Pope: from An Essay on Criticismp. 129
Robert Browning: My Last Duchessp. 130
Wilfred Owen: Strange Meetingp. 132
Thom Gunn: The J Carp. 133
Close-Up of the Heroic Couplet: "My Last Duchess"p. 135
The Stanza
The Stanza at a Glancep. 136
The History of the Formp. 137
The Contemporary Contextp. 139
Geoffrey Chaucer: from Troilus and Criseydep. 140
Edmund Spenser: from The Faerie Queenep. 141
Thomas Wyatt: They Flee from Mep. 142
George Herbert: Easter Wingsp. 143
William Blake: The Tygerp. 143
George Gordon, Lord Byron: So We'll Go No More A-Rovingp. 144
Emily Dickinson: I died for Beauty--but was scarcep. 145
Thomas Hardy: The Convergence of the Twainp. 145
Walter de la Mare: The Song of the Mad Princep. 146
Charlotte Mew: A Quoi Bon Direp. 147
Jean Toomer: Song of the Sonp. 147
Claude McKay: The Tropics in New Yorkp. 148
Sara Teasdale: Night Song at Amalfip. 149
Stevie Smith: Not Waving but Drowningp. 149
Yvor Winters: On Teaching the Youngp. 149
Robert Hayden: Those Winter Sundaysp. 150
Muriel Rukeyser: Yesp. 150
Carol Ann Duffy: Warming Her Pearlsp. 151
Carol Muske: Epithp. 152
Close-Up of a Stanza: "I died for Beauty--but was scarce"p. 154
II Meter
Meter at a Glancep. 159
A Brief Checklist of Further Reading on Meterp. 161
III Shaping Forms
Overviewp. 165
The Elegy
Overviewp. 167
William Dunbar: Lament for the Makarisp. 168
Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke: If Ever Hapless Woman Had a Causep. 171
Ben Jonson: On My First Sonp. 172
Katherine Philips: Epitaph. On her Son H.P. at St. Syth's Church where her body also lies Interredp. 172
John Milton: Lycidasp. 173
Anne Bradstreet: Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, 1666. Copied out of a Loose Paperp. 178
Thomas Gray: Elegy Written in a Country Churchyardp. 180
Emily Bronte: R. Alcona to J. Brenzaidap. 184
Walt Whitman: O Captain! My Captain!p. 185
Matthew Arnold: Dover Beachp. 185
Ivor Gurney: To His Lovep. 187
John Crowe Ransom: Bells for John Whiteside's Daughterp. 187
Louise Bogan: Tears in Sleepp. 188
W. H. Auden: In Memory of W. B. Yeatsp. 188
Robert Lowell: from The Quaker Graveyard in Nantucketp. 191
John Berryman: Dream Song 324p. 194
Frank Bidart: To the Deadp. 194
Edward Hirsch: In Memoriam Paul Celanp. 196
Garrett Hongo: The Legendp. 197
Douglas Crase: The Elegy for New Yorkp. 198
Mark Doty: Tiarap. 199
Gjertrud Schnackenberg: Supernatural Lovep. 200
Thomas Kinsella: Mirror in Februaryp. 202
David St. John: Irisp. 203
Paula Meehan: Child Burialp. 204
Rosanna Warren: Songp. 205
The Pastoral
Overviewp. 207
Christopher Marlowe: The Passionate Shepherd to His Lovep. 209
William Shakespeare: from Love's Labor's Lostp. 210
Andrew Marvell: The Gardenp. 210
William Wordsworth: To My Sisterp. 213
John Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urnp. 214
A. E. Housman: Loveliest of Treesp. 215
Francis Ledwidge: The Wife of Llewp. 216
Babette Deutsch: Urban Pastoralp. 216
Janet Lewis: Remembered Morningp. 217
Ted Hughes: The Thought-Foxp. 217
Philip Larkin: The Explosionp. 218
James Wright: Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesotap. 219
Derek Walcott: Midsummer, Tobagop. 220
Galway Kinnell: The Bearp. 220
Amy Clampitt: Fogp. 223
Jane Kenyon: Let Evening Comep. 224
Philip Levine: Smokep. 224
Robert Hass: Meditation at Lagunitasp. 226
John Koethe: From the Porchp. 227
Alfred Corn: A Walrus Tusk from Alaskap. 227
Charles Wright: Looking West from Laguna Beach at Nightp. 228
Les Murray: The Broad Bean Sermonp. 229
Lucie Brock-Broido: Of the Finished Worldp. 230
Thylias Moss: Tornadosp. 231
C. K. Williams: Lossp. 232
Timothy Steele: Waiting for the Stormp. 233
Mary Kinzie: An Engraving of Blakep. 233
Eilean Ni Chuilleanain: Pygmalion's Imagep. 233
Louise Gluck: Mock Orangep. 234
Mary Oliver: The Black Walnut Treep. 235
Medbh McGuckian: Gatepostsp. 236
Susan Prospere: Heart of the Matterp. 236
Mary O'Malley: Shoeing the Currachp. 238
The Ode
Overviewp. 240
Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ode to the West Windp. 241
John Keats: To Autumnp. 243
Henry Timrod: Odep. 244
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: The Fire of Driftwoodp. 245
Hart Crane: from The Bridgep. 247
Marianne Moore: The Paper Nautilusp. 248
Judith Wright: Australia 1970p. 249
Charles Simic: Miracle Glass Co.p. 250
Howard Nemerov: The Blue Swallowsp. 250
Robert Creeley: Americap. 252
Robert Pinsky: Ode to Meaningp. 252
Joy Harjo: Perhaps the World Ends Herep. 254
IV Open Forms
Overviewp. 259
W. B. Yeats: The Circus Animals' Desertionp. 260
T. S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrockp. 262
Langston Hughes: I, Toop. 266
Wallace Stevens: The Idea of Order at Key Westp. 266
William Carlos Williams: Spring and Allp. 268
Allen Ginsberg: Americap. 269
Frank O'Hara: Ave Mariap. 272
Denise Levertov: Uncertain Oneiromancyp. 273
Sylvia Plath: Daddyp. 274
Adrienne Rich: Diving into the Wreckp. 276
Lucille Clifton: movep. 279
Sharon Olds: The Language of the Bragp. 280
Carolyn Forche: The Colonelp. 281
Ai: The German Army, Russia, 1943p. 282
Yusef Komunyakaa: Starlight Scope Myopiap. 282
Jorie Graham: Reading Platop. 284
Close-Up of Open Forms: "Diving into the Wreck"p. 287
A Brief Glossaryp. 289
Biographies and Further Readingp. 293
Suggested Readingp. 335
Creditsp. 337
General Indexp. 349
Index of Authors, Titles, and First Linesp. 357