The Formalist – Spring/Summer 2004
Volume 15 Issue 1
Are you lonely for the music that used to inhabit the house of poetry? Do you miss the rhyme, though you visit it sometimes in the lyrics of your favorite songs? Does a stray phrase from “Prufrock” or “Innisfree” or “Stopping By Woods” pop into your head every now and again, wondering where you’ve gone?
Are you lonely for the music that used to inhabit the house of poetry? Do you miss the rhyme, though you visit it sometimes in the lyrics of your favorite songs? Does a stray phrase from “Prufrock” or “Innisfree” or “Stopping By Woods” pop into your head every now and again, wondering where you’ve gone? Perhaps it’s time for you to sample The Formalist, a “unique poetry journal which publishes contemporary, metrical verse written in the great tradition of English-language poetry.” Included here are unabashedly rhyme-rich and metrically-constructed poems on a wide variety of themes, from roof-walkers to infidelity. Allison Joseph’s sonnet, “Yes,” likes the capabilities of “all those little words” like “no” and “but” and “who,” but stands nervous before the three little letters of affirmation: “But how is it a tiny ‘yes’ can scare / the bravest of the brave? [ . . . ] The aftermath of ‘yes’ can leave us bare— / not yet prepared for all we’ll have to give.” A. E. Stallings’ “Bad News Blues” is a deceptively simple and accessible consideration of how, admit it or not, we’re all in line for an audience with Bad News: “His smile swings open like a pocket knife. / He smiles like he could slice right through a life. / Nobody’s daughter is safe. Nobody’s wife.” A new feature, “a focused interview with a poet about the genesis of one of his poems,” examines Anthony Hecht’s “It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You, Avoid It.” – a starkly powerful and heartfelt piece that explores, against the backdrop of the Holocaust (Hecht took part in the liberation of the Flossenberg Concentration Camp in WWII), a father’s anxiety as he hopes to protect his children from evil. And poet and Formalist editor William Baer offers this wonderful summation of the value of the sonnet, the little fourteen-lined poem that says the world: “I believe [ . . . ] that the sonnet is one of man’s greatest creations and accomplishments. [ . . . ] It’s one of those magical structures, like a snowflake or a baseball diamond, that’s both beautiful and good in itself.” That wants to sing for you again, if you will listen. [The Formalist, 320 Hunter Drive, Evansville, IN 47711. Single issue $7.50. http://www2.evansville.edu/theformalist/] – AS