WHY FORMALIST POETRY SPEAKS TO US AND WHY WE LOVE TO PRACTICE IT
John Timpane, Miriam Kotzin, and Ernest Hilbert, moderated by Lynn Levin
6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe
Formalist poetry has staying power because it delights the ear as much as it attempts to make sense of the human experience. The panelists, all formalist poets, critics, editors, and teachers, will discuss the reasons why formalist poetry speaks to us and why writing in traditional forms (and sometimes inventing new forms) helps poets shape their thinking and produce pleasing works. As experimental poets know, constraints can pave the way to new literary invention; the panelists will share the ways in which they use meter, rhyme, and other constraints to produce lyric, dramatic, and narrative poems.
JOHN TIMPANE is Media Editor/Writer and Assistant Books Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His poetry has appeared in Sequoia, Vocabula Review, Apiary Mixtape, ONandOnScreen, Painted Bride Quarterly, Per Contra, 5_Trope, Poetdelphia, Wild River Review, and elsewhere. His books include (with Nancy H. Packer) Writing Worth Reading (NY: St. Martin, 1994); It Could Be Verse (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed, 1995); (with Maureen Watts and the Poetry Center of San Francisco State University) Poetry for Dummies (NY: Hungry Minds, 2000); and (with Roland Reisley) Usonia, N.Y.: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000); and a book of poetry, Burning Bush (Ontario, Canada: Judith Fitzgerald/Cranberry Tree, 2010). A denizen of central Jersey, he is husband to Maria-Christina Keller, copy executive for Scientific American. They are the amazed parents of Pilar and Conor.
MIRIAM N. KOTZIN is Professor of English at Drexel University where she teaches literature and creative writing. She is the founding editor of Per Contra: An international journals of the arts, literature, and ideas. She is, as well, a contributing editor of Boulevard. Her most recent collection of poetry is The Body's Bride (David Robert Books, 2013), which joins Taking Stock (Star Cloud 2011), Weights & Measures (Star Cloud Press 2009), Reclaiming the Dead, and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). Her debut novel, The Real Deal was published by BrickHouse Books in 2012. Her fiction and poetry have been published in or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Boulevard, The Flea, Eclectica, Mezzo Cammin, Offcourse, Smokelong Quarterly, Verse Daily, and The Tower Journal. She was Founding Director of Drexel University’s Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing. Rhina Espaillat wrote, that she “connects with the reader so immediately that her craftsmanship works unnoticed...” Miriam Kotzin was graduated from Penn in 1965, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She majored in English and was Valedictorian for the College for Women.
ERNEST HILBERT’s debut poetry collection Sixty Sonnets (2009) was described by X.J. Kennedy as “maybe the most arresting sequence we have had since John Berryman checked out of America.” His second collection, All of You on the Good Earth (2013), has been hailed as a “wonder of a book,” “original and essential,” an example of “sheer mastery of poetic form.” His third collection, Caligulan (2015), has been called “brutal yet beautiful” (Rowan Ricardo Phillips), defined by “pleasure, clarity, and discipline” (Daisy Fried). Hilbert is as a senior specialist at Bauman Rare Books in Philadelphia. He is also the concentration director for the low-residency World of Versecraft MFA program at Western State University of Colorado. His poems have appeared in Yale Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Hudson Review, Boston Review, The New Republic, and American Scholar, as well as several anthologies, including two Penguin classroom editions, Poetry and Literature. He graduated with a doctorate in English Literature from Oxford University, where he edited the Oxford Quarterly. He later served as poetry editor of Random House’s magazine Bold Type and editor of Contemporary Poetry Review.
LYNN LEVIN teaches creative writing at Penn and Drexel. A poet, writer, and translator, she is the author of six books, most recently: Miss Plastique, a 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in poetry; with co-author Valerie Fox, Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, a 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in education/academic books; and a translation from the Spanish, Birds on the Kiswar Tree, a collection of poems by the Peruvian Andean poet Odi Gonzales. Her other titles include Fair Creatures of an Hour, also a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in poetry, and Imaginarium, a finalist for ForeWord’s Book of the Year Award. An eleven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Lynn Levin has published poetry and prose in Rattle,Ploughshares, Boulevard, The Hopkins Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cleaver, Per Contra, and on Verse Daily. Garrison Keillor has read her work on The Writer’s Almanac, and she has twice been a guest on Marty Moss-Coane’s Radio Times. Her website is www.lynnlevinpoet.com.