Department of English

Poetry and Poetics


The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, ed. Alex Preminger, T. V. F. Brogan et al. (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993).

Lewis Turco, The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics (New York: Dutton, 1968).

Cultural Contexts

Robert Pinsky, The Situation of Poetry: Contemporary Poetry and Its Traditions (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1976).

Rafael Pérez-Torres, Movements in Chicano Poetry: Against Myths, Against Margins (Cambridge: Cambridge UP 1995), esp. 7 and 8.

Wyatt Prunty, “Fallen from the Symboled World”: Precedents for the New Formalism (New York: Oxford UP, 1990).

Tony Bolden, Afro-Blue:  Improvisation in African American Poetry and Culture (Urbana:  University of Illinois Press, 2003).

Adrienne Rich, What Is Found There:  Notebooks on Poetry and Politics (New York: Norton, 1993).

Dana Gioia, Can Poetry Matter? Essays on Poetry and American Culture (St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 1992).

Rachel Blau DuPlesis, Genders, Races, and Religious Cultures in Modern American Poetry, 1908-1934 (Cambridge:  Cambridge UP, 2001).

Rachel Blau DuPlesis, The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice (University of Alabama Press, 2006).

Roy Harvey Pearce, The Continuity of American Poetry (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1961).

Walter Jackson Bate, The Burden of the Past and the English Poet (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1970).

F.R. Leavis, Revaluation: Tradition and Development in English Poetry (Chatto and Windus, 1947).

Antony Easthope, Poetry as Discourse (London: Methuen, 1983).

General Poetics and Specific Movements

Aristotle, Selections from Poetics

Aldon Nielsen, Reading Race: White American Poets and the Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century

Houston Baker, Afro-American Poetics

Gloria T. Hull, Color, Sex, & Poetry: Three Women Writers of the Harlem Renaissance

Marjorie Perloff, Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media, and Differentials

Keith Leonard, Fettered Genius: The African American Bardic Poet from Slavery to Civil Rights

Lorenzo Thomas, Extraordinary Measures: Afrocentric Modernism and Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Joanne Gabbin, Selected Essays from The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry

Timothy Yu, Race and the Avant-Garde: Experimental and Asian American Poetry

Brian Kim Stefans, “A Remote Parsee,” An Alternative Grammar of Asian North American Poetry”

Dean Rader and Janice Gould, eds. Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry.

Lynn Keller, ed., Selected essays in Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory

Stephen Henderson, Understanding New Black Poetry, Introduction

Albert Gelpi, A Cherent Splendor: The American Poetic Renaissance

Zophia Burr, Of Women, Poetry, and Power

Adelaide Morris, ed., Sound States: Innovative Poetics and Acoustical Technologies

Lesley Wheeler, Poetics of Enclosure: American Women Poets from Dickinson to Dove

Linda A. Kinnahan, Lyric Interventions: Feminism, Experimental Poetry, and Contemporary Discourse

Adam Bradley, Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop

Paula Backscheider, Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and Their Poetry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).

Emily Stipes Watts, The Poetry of American Women from 1632 to 1945 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977).


T. V. F. Brogan, English Versification, 1570-1980: A Reference Guide with a Global Appendix (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1981).

Derek Attridge, The Rhythms of English Poetry (London: Longman, 1982).

Timothy Steele, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing (Athens, OH: Ohio UP, 1999).

W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., and Monroe C. Beardsley, "The Concept of Meter: An Exercise in Abstraction," PMLA, 74 (1959), 585-98; rpt. in Chatman and Levin, pp. 91-114.

Paul Fussell, Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, rev. ed. (New York: Random House, 1979).

John Hollander, Vision and Resonance: Two Senses of Poetic Form, 2nd ed. (1975; New Haven: Yale UP, 1985).

George Puttenham, Art of English Poesy [1589]: A Critical Edition, ed. Frank Whigham and Wayne A. Rebhorn (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2007).

Seymour Chatman, "Comparing Metrical Styles," in Sebeok, pp. 149-72; rpt. in Chatman and Levin, pp. 132-55.

Annie Finch, The Ghost of Meter: Culture and Prosody in American Free Verse (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan Press, 1993).

Marina Tarlinskaja, Strict Stress-Meter in English Poetry, Compared with German and Russian (Calgary: U of Calgary Press, 1993).

Charles O. Hartman, Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody  (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1980), pp. 61-80.

Essays by Jonathan Holden, Marjorie Perloff, Sandra M. Gilbert, and others in The Line in Postmodern Poetry, ed. R. J. Frank and H. M. Sayre (Urbana: U of Illinois Press, 1988).

Edward R. Weismiller, “Triple Threats to Duple Rhythm,” in Phonetics and Phonology, Volume 1: Rhythm and Meter, ed. Paul Kiparsky and Gilbert Youmans (San Diego: Academic Press, 1989), pp. 261-90.

Rhetorical Figures

Richard A. Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, 2nd ed. (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California P, 1991)

Edward P. J. Corbett, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford UP, 1999), pp. 493-95.

I. A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric (London: Oxford UP, 1936).

Catherine Addison: From Literal to Figurative: An Introduction to the Study of Simile,” College English, 55 (1993), 402-19.

Monroe C. Beardsley, Aesthetics: Problems in the Philosophy of Criticism, 2nd ed. (1st ed. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1958; Indianapolis: Hackett, 1981), “Theories of Metaphor,” pp. 134-47, 159-62.

Donald Davidson, “What Metaphors Mean,” Critical Inquiry, 5 (1978), 31-47.


Charles Bernstein, ed., Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (New York: Oxford UP, 1998).

Susan Somers-Willett, The Cultural Politics of Slam Poetry: Race, Identity, and the Performance of Popular Verse in America (Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2009).

Joseph Harrington, Poetry and the Public: The Social Form of Modern U.S. Poetics (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2002).

Lesley Wheeler, Voicing American Poetry: Sound and Performance from the 1920s to the Present (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2008).

Peter Middleton, Distant Reading: Performance, Readership, and Consumption in Contemporary Poetry (Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 2005).

Poetic Craft of Individual Authors

Walter Jackson Bate, The Stylistic Development of Keats (New York: MLA, 1945).

Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, Gender and History in Yeats's Love Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993)

Mailin Pereira, Rita Dove’s Cosmopolitanism (Urbana: U of Illinois Press, 2003).

Frank Lentricchia, Modernist Quarteet (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994).

Harold Bloom, Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1976).

R. W. B. Lewis, The Poetry of Hart Crane: A Critical Study (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1967).

George T. Wright, Shakespeare's Metrical Art (Berkeley and Los Angeles: U of California Press, 1988).

Steven Cushman, William Carlos Williams and the Meaning of Measure (New Haven: Yale UP, 1985).

The following two categories have many entries appropriate for either.

Landmark Essays in Poetics

Charles Olson, “Projective Verse”

Denise Levertov, “Notes on Organic Form”

Langston Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”

William Carlos Williams, “The Poem as a Field of Action”

T.S. Eliot, “ Reflection on Vers Libre”

Amiri Baraka, “How You Sound”

June Jordan, “The Difficult Miracle of Black Poetry in America: Something Like a Sonnet for Phillis Wheatley”

Audre Lorde, “Poetry is Not a Luxury”

Charles Bernstein, “Artifice of Absorption”

Harryette Mullen, “Poetry and Identity”

Erica Hunt, “Notes Toward an Oppositional Poetics”

Poets on Poetry

Stevens, The Necessary Angel

Emerson, The Poet

Pound, ABC of Reading

Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent,” "Hamlet," "Of Poetry and Poets"

Louise Glück, "Proofs and Theories:  Essays on Poetry"

Shelley, A Defense of Poetry

Robert Bly, Leaping Poetry

Robert Hass, Twentieth Century Pleasures

Lyn Hejenian, The Language of Inquiry

Keats, Letters

Hopkins, Letters

T.S. Eliot, “Ezra Pound:  His Metric and Poetry”

Charles Olsen, "Projective Verse'

Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass

Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads

Andre Breton, Manifestos of Surrealism

Apollonaire, The Poets and the New Age

Rimbaud, "Letter of the Seer"

Tzara, Seven Dada Manifestos

Horace, Art of Poetry

Charles Bernstein, “Pounding Fascism”

Christopher Funkhouser, “A Cyber-Editors Statement”

Margaret Walker, “New Poets”

Don L. Lee (Haki Madhubuti): “Toward a Definition: Black Poetry of the Sixties”

Jane Hirshfield, Selections from The Nine Gates:  Entering the Mind of Poetry

Yusef Komunyakaa, Selections from Blue Notes: Essays, Interview & Commentaries

Carl Phillips, Selections from Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Art and Life of Poetry

Stephen Burt, Sections from Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry

Nathaniel Mackey, Selections from Discrepant Engagement

Linda Gregerson, Selected chapter in Negative Capability: Contemporary American Poetry

Cherrie Moraga, Selections from Loving in the War Years

Reginald Sheperd, Selections from Orpheus in the Bronx

Charles Bernstein, Selected essays from The Politics of Poetic Form

Susan Stewart, Poetry and the Fate of the Senses

Robert Hayden, Selections from Collected Prose

William Carlos Williams, Selections from Imagination

Other Topics in Poetics

Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin, eds., The Sound of Poetry / The Poetry of Sound (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2009)

Marjorie Perloff, The Poetics of Indeterminacy (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1981).

Barbara Hernstein Smith, Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poems End (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1968).

A.C. Bradley, Oxford Lectures on Poetry (Macmillan, 1909)

Robert Crawford, The Modern Poet (Oxford UP, 2001)

Stuart Curran, Poetic Form and British Romanticism (Oxford UP, 1985)

Josephine Miles, Eras and Modes in British Poetry (U of California P, 1957)

Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border

Robert Gluck, "A Long Note on New Narrative," in Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative, ed. Mary Burger et al. Toronto: Couch House Books, 2004.

Eileen Myles, "How to Write an Avant-Garde Poem," in The Importance of Being Iceland, Semiotexte, 2009.

Famous Anthologies

Reuben Brower, et al., Beginning with Poems (Norton, 1966)

Francis Palgrave, Palgrave's Golden Treasury (1861)

Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Oxford Book of English Verse (1919)

Samuel Johnson, Lives of the Poets (originally part of a series of editions)

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