Another “Dear Don” letter on Form Poems

Hi Don,

Thanks for throwing something interesting and chewable
up on here, vis-a-vis the whole “form poem” thing.

Back when I was just a teenager, I started taking
an interest in poetry, and I pursued it, encouraged
by some great teachers in high school. I wrote
only if forms back then, whether the form was a
cinquan poem or a sonnet, or a ballad in abab
rhyming quatrains. I just remember that my early
experiences with poetry were all in form, and I
feel this is a good thing.

Years later, still writing, I rarely compose a poem
with an existing form. From time to time I’ll still
think of and try to write a sonnet, but that’s because
sonnets are my favorites of the form poems.

I will say that the notion that form poems can be
restrictive certainly resonates with me. And then
I think of e.e. cummings, and how he didn’t have
to lose his voice to compose a sonnet like “next to
god of course america i”.

– Rich Boucher