The book of forms A handbook of poetics : including odd and invented forms

Lewis Turco

Book - 2012

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Hanover, New Hampshire : Dartmouth College Press an imprint of University Press of New England [2012]
Revised and expanded edition
Item Description
"Reference/Poetry"--Back cover.
Physical Description
xiii, 440 pages ; 19 cm
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
Main Author
Lewis Turco (author)
  • The elements of poetry. Introduction to the discipline ; The levels of poetry ; Glossary of poetic terms
  • Form-finder index. Introduction to the index ; Specific forms ; General forms ; Notation
  • Traditional and recently invented verse forms. Dramatic poetry ; Lyric poetry ; Narrative poetry.
Review by Choice Reviews

This expanded update of Turco's classic handbook (1968; 3rd ed., 2000) contains descriptions of some 700 poetic forms organized into three sections, the first on basic elements, the second a handy form-finding index, and the third an alphabetical listing of forms with sample poems. Although James Dickey's oft-cited endorsement of Turco's handbook as "the poet's bible" no longer strictly applies--several high-quality competitors are available, including The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. by Alex Preminger and T. V. F. Brogan (CH, Oct'93, 31-0674), and works by Paul Fussell and Robert Pinsky--Turco (emer., SUNY College at Oswego) still enjoys top billing. (Ashland University awarded Turco an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2000 for his long and impressive career in the field.) Though somewhat archaic and idiosyncratic, the book is easy to use and exhaustive almost to a fault when it comes to verse forms used by poets writing in English. Beginners may be confused by Turco's obvious bias against free verse (he asserts it cannot exist, and even presumes to edit Walt Whitman) and by the heavy use of his own poems and those of Wesli Court, actually a pseudonym for Turco himself. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates; graduate students, researchers/faculty; general readers. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty. C. E. O'Neill New Mexico State University at Alamogordo Copyright 2012 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

For decades Lewis Turco’s The Book of Forms has been standard in the libraries of writers, teachers, scholars, and others who care about the craft of poetry. Now Turco has expanded and updated “the poet’s bible” once again, this time incorporating a collection of “odd and invented forms,” which adds many interesting ancient and modern prosodies and forms with new examples written by contemporary poets old and young. Turco presents “The Rules of Scansion,” discusses the “levels” of poetry—the typographical, the sonic, the sensory, and the ideational—and proffers the ever-useful “Form-Finder Index.”

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The well-known companion to The Book of Literary Terms and The Book of Dialogue, this indispensable bible of poetics now includes a wealth of "odd and invented" verse forms