This is for the roundtable “Not the Usual Suspects” Below I include some provocative and compelling statements about the value of form, from New Formalism and others. I present these mostly without context, as intriguing snippets of an ongoing discussion that I believe responds to the CFP. If there’s more interest in an ongoing conversation, I’ll add to it.

Call for Papers for “Not the Usual Suspects”


Fredric Bogel – from New Formalist Criticism: Theory and Practice

On New Formalism:



bogel1 bogel2

Martin McQuillan: Deconstruction: A Reader


Derek Attridge, The Rhythms of English Poetry

“…those ways of dealing with metre which have proved most tenacious in their hold on the English literary consciousness, and which are most likely to affect . . . our present reading, teaching, and criticism of verse.”

Pat Rogers, “The Politics of Style” in Essays on Pope


Samuel Johnson – The Rambler 94

johnson rambler

A Sigh – Anne Finch (First published in 1703). Overview by Ellen Moody Here.

Gentle Air, thou Breath of Lovers,
Vapour from a secret Fire,
Which by Thee it self discovers,
Ere yet daring to Aspire.

Softest Note of whisper’d Anguish,
Harmony’s refined Part,
Striking, while thou seem’st to Languish,
Full upon the Listener’s Heart.

Safest Messenger of Passion,
Stealing thro’ a Crowd of Spies;
Who constrain the outward Fashion,
Close the Lips, and watch the Eyes.

Shapeless Sigh! we ne’er can show thee,
Fram’d but to assault the Ear:
Yet, ere to their Cost they know thee,
Every Nymph may read thee — Here.

From Poems on Several Occasions (1703)


From Miscellany Poems (1712ish?)


Links and Resources:

“The Social Lives of Form” on Public Books by David James

“Form’s Function” – A Review of Carolyn Levine’s book by David Alworth

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