BOOK REVIEW
 



The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics,
 Including Odd and Invented Forms,
Revised and Expanded Edition
 by Lewis Putnam Turco,
Hanover, NH: University Press of New England,
2012

ISBN: 978-1-61168-035-5 

Reference & Bibliography / Poetry
Paper, 384 pp. 3 illus. 5 x 7 1/2"
$27.95

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Lewis Turco's, The Book of Forms, has been the mainstay, the bread and butter, of poets, students and teachers for four decades.  This latest revision includes odd and invented forms as well as new information on "Rules of Scansion" for English, and detailed information on the "levels" of poetry. Further, it clarifies rhythm, cadence and meter and has a  "Form Finder Index," with lots of sub-divisions, that make it easy for the reader to locate a form specifically or generally.  For example, under the category of "specific forms," you can find a one line form and, if you're in the mood, work your way up to a two hundred and ten-line form.

This 384 page reference book is comprehensive, including items such as descort and dipthong rhyme, the rocking foot, the short rocking foot and the long rocking foot, slam poetry, ovilejo and spatial prosody.  If you are a poet or a teacher and don't know what these are, you need this book! 

This latest edition includes forms not included in previous editions, for example:  Berryman's Dreamsong form and the dorsimbra form, as well as the torno of Rhina Espaillat.

The late poet and critic James Dickey wrote that this book “Belongs in the hands of every poet, student, and teacher, for the greater good of the art.” 

I agree. 

 


Mary Ann Sullivan