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J. Chester Johnson
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Let me propose an additional instrument to the array we poets already enjoy at our disposal when we put our poems together. I call it “elastic rhyme,” and I’ve been using it here and there for years. Simply put, elastic rhyme, which is especially suited for prose-leaning styles that characterize much current poetry, supplies a flexible order for the writing of verse; while rhyme occurs systematically, the point at which it actually occurs varies – thus, the term, elastic rhyme. Rhyme can be magic – frequently, subtle magic – that beguiles readers and listeners even today and seduced their forebears... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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We should not suppose this return connotes a literary topography akin to PARADISE LOST, BHAGAVAD GITA of the MAHABHARATA, or THE ILIAD. Of course, we don’t think of ourselves as poets engaged in preserving, in verse, traditional epic contests with warrior battles, supernal interventions, or topical armageddon between conspicuous forces of good and evil. Rather, a more modern epic form of poetic relevance establishes a consequential context for the events explored and also reflects the values of the particular time and place. There are recent longer poems or collected series of poems that capture the values of an age, which... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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Is there reason to be especially concerned should, for economic or other reasons, the number of available teaching jobs in creative writing be increasingly inadequate to accommodate new MFA graduates with a concentration in poetry? Let me suggest this outcome will not be an entirely dire circumstance for the future state of poetry or for the poetic future of those most affected, when we take a retrospective look at the output and careers of poets who have lived the double life – that is, those who wrote verse at the same time they held down non-poetry occupations. The double life... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
On the afternoon of September 10th, 2011, seven poets participated in a reading, held for the 10th commemoration of 9/11 and sponsored by Poets House, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Trinity Wall Street. The reading, convened in the cavernous sanctuary of Trinity Church at Wall and Broadway, two blocks south of Ground Zero, attracted approximately 300 persons. Poems of grief, remembrance and reconciliation were presented by the poets. During their readings that day, both Cornelius Eady and Mark Doty referred to difficulties they each had faced in writing about the 9/11 experience. I believe the obstacles they confronted in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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Oct 3, 2012