Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century
Publication Year: 2014
Because of the complexity of the form, the sestina fell out of favor with poets for several decades. However, a twenty-first century revival of the form is underway. This is the first anthology of sestinas that showcases both traditional and innovative examples of the form by modern and contemporary poets, award winners, and emerging writers alike. Organized by such themes as Americana; Art; Love and Sex; and Memory, Contemplation, Retrospection, and Death, the collection also includes sestinas with irregular teleutons and unconventional sestinas. An evocative introduction by Marilyn Krysl acquaints readers with the form. The volume concludes with useful indexes of first lines and teleutons, increasing access to the poems beyond the poets' names.
Published by: Dartmouth College Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface: I Put a Spell on You
Carolyn Beard Whitlow
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A high school English teacher assigned our class Dylan Thomas’ villanelle “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” When I was ten I’d lost the hearing in my left ear, and I identified with Thomas’ perseverance in the face of loss. The repetitions in the poem acted as a soothing balm. And the repetitions urged courage. The poem was...
Americans think of ourselves as originals, and we cherish our memorabilia, objects which signal our authenticity. For writers, as for citizens at large, Americana is about cultural memory, history, and nostalgia. The poems in this section are rich with reference to cultural artifacts: the clothing we choose to wear, the music we prefer to hear, the...
Time Reviews the Ziegfeld Follies Featuring Josephine Baker, 1936
A. Van Jordan
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The 103rd Birthday of Emma Regina Degraffenreid Smith
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Love and Sex
The sestina with its teleutons chiming back and forth throughout the poem is an especially appropriate form for mediating our human longing for love and our desire to escape impermanence. Michele Battiste’s lines in “No Swimming” rock the way the sea rocks, endlessly, obsessively. She...
Memory, Contemplation, Retrospection, and Death
The Natural World
The word obsession sometimes suggests extremity: an overweening need to go beyond what seems the usual, the daily, the ordinary. Extremity may produce detrimental consequences, such as an excess of carbon in the atmosphere, but it may also produce stewards who shepherd the natural...
Sestinas About Sestinas: Metasestinas
Class Assignment: Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem
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Sestinas with Irregular Teleutons
Traditional sestinas require six verse sestets or six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. Poets experimenting with the form, however, may adhere only to the requirement of teleutons. All elements of the lyrical and syntactical line might disappear, replaced by single words in juxtaposition without any sentence structure, as in Evie Shockley’s starkly...
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The verse form which we call the “sestina” is of Medieval French origin, attributed to Arnaut Daniel in the late twelfth century and used by other Gallic poets and by Italians including Petrarch and Dante, from whom it received its Italian name. The introduction of the form into English literature dates from...
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Index of First Lines
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Index of (Loosely) Metrical and Syllabic Sestinas
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Index of Teleutons
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Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2014