Robert Hass / David Koehn
Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 7:00 p.m.
City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Omnidawn Press presents
celebrating the release of
Compendium: Donald Justice's Prosody Syllabus
Edited by David Koehn & Alan Soldofsky
published by Omnidawn Books
A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry
by Robert Hass
published by ECCO Press
As prosody is the very medium of the poet's domain, Donald Justice saw prosody as a set of nomenclatures for the poet composers to use in making their music. The collage process Justice employed to present his instructional materials possesses a composer's quality, the structure of which possesses a unique beauty. His insights serve as a sort of de facto taxonomy, an organically designed system that he uses to present his lecture on each respective aspect of the evolution of poetic form. There is no formal thesis here, but rather a kind of scrapbook that has a broader motive. The material possesses no hidden secrets; the treasures lie in plain sight and simply need be discerned to open the artist's mind to their possibilities.
David Koehn has taught at the University of Florida, Eastern Oregon State College, Blue Mountain Community College, the University of Alaska, and San Francisco State University. He has published several books of poetry, Coil (a chapbook of poems), Tunic (a letterpress chapbook of translations of Catullus) and Twine (a full length collection of poems). David also edited Compendium about Donald Justice's thoughts on prosody. His next full-length book of poems, Scatterplot, is due for release in 2020.
About A Little Book on Form:
An acute and deeply insightful book of essays exploring poetic form and the role of instinct and imagination within form—from former poet laureate, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning author Robert Hass.
Robert Hass—former poet laureate, winner of the National Book Award, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize—illuminates the formal impulses that underlie great poetry in this sophisticated, graceful, and accessible volume of essays drawn from a series of lectures he delivered at the renowned Iowa Writers' Workshop.
A Little Book on Form brilliantly synthesizes Hass's formidable gifts as both a poet and a critic and reflects his profound education in the art of poetry. Starting with the exploration of a single line as the basic gesture of a poem, and moving into an examination of the essential expressive gestures that exist inside forms, Hass goes beyond approaching form as a set of traditional rules that precede composition, and instead offers penetrating insight into the true openness and instinctiveness of formal creation.
A Little Book on Form is a rousing reexamination of our longest lasting mode of literature from one of our greatest living poets