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A Review of: In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry
by Olga Stein

If you enjoy poetry, have read a great deal of it, and regret never receiving a formal education in this branch of literature because you were too busy pursuing a formal education in something else, you'll find In Fine Form a handy pleasure. If you ever wanted to know what a Ghazal, Glosa, Madrigal, Pantoum, Sonnet, or Sestina look like (to name but a few of the forms encountered here), you'll be grateful for this book. The introduction explains: "A form poem is one in which key details of composition, including rhyme, repetition, metre and rhythm, are accepted as givens." There are more than 19 established forms discussed and illustrated with examples culled from many of Canada's best poets (there are works by many good, even great, ones here). Importantly, homegrown variations on these forms are offered here too, so that we get a lively sampling of how Canadian poets are marshalling traditional structures to achieve an innovative poetry of their own. Each section offers a brief history and an easy to follow analysis of a form's basic elements. A small table preceding the poems in each section describes the rules governing stanzas, metre, rhyme, and repetition. Few would fail to appreciate this guide to poetry!

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