Good time for poets who rhyme
At their conference in West Chester
, formalists declare a victory over free verse. [...]
The locus of the pro-rhyme-and-meter camp is West Chester University, where in 1995, nearly 90 poets first gathered to explore and tout traditional forms of poetry. Sonnets, for example.
They met again this week - nearly 300 this time - for the tenth annual conference, and they declared victory. [...]
One of the most outspoken critics has been Ira Sadoff, a poet and professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, who once declared that sound and meter were "poetic decorations" that got in the way of - or worse, masked the absence of - poetic vision.
"I haven't mellowed," he said this week from Maine. "I've always liked some good poems in form," but for him, there's too much in fixed-form poetry that "promotes dead white males, and some live ones, whose poetry is often deadly."
On the other side of the debate are the formalists, who say it's free verse that too often masks a lack of skill, too often amounts to little more than self-absorbed thumb-sucking. [...]