As formalism in poetry and the expectations around gender and family structure have evolved, so have poets’ treatment of it. Bernadette Mayer's 1989 collection repurposes the idea of the volta in experimental sonnets to demonstrate that clear resolution in life rarely exists,
especially in matters of love and relationship.
Michael Martone teaches the flown-over writer to treat the Midwestern setting with dignity and curiosity, allowing the landscape to help characters tell their stories.
In writing lines that don’t connect, Olga Broumas and T Begley seem to want readers to focus on a poem’s space and movement rather than what its words actually mean. When we boil the experience of language down to these elements without the distraction of denotation, new possibilities open
Monica A. Hand’s 2012 poetry collection is a polyphonic celebration of the multidimensionality of the self. The musician Nina Simone’s echoing impact and the poet’s own life as an artist and Black woman operate as countermelodies, playing across many emotional registers.
Ai’s complex depictions, in her 1970 collection of poetry, of contradictory emotions, desperation, character triangles, and speakers driven to and past the brink of perpetrating harm work because she employs minimalism in her poetic devices, including heavy use of the end-stopped line.
Eléna Rivera's 2011 collection fuses the relationship between maps and language—a paper map is a metaphor for language itself, and can be pierced. To puncture a sentence or an entire poem means reaching through language’s strictures and expectations into what’s on the other side, and accessing language’s limits.
Kimiko Hahn’s 2006 poetry collection not only demonstrates the non-linear zuihitsu’s possibilities for relaying personal story, but also includes her meta-musings on genre and fragmentation itself, especially in terms of how “complete incompleteness” might serve as a haven for women artists—such subversions interrupt power, upset façade, and invite truth-telling.
Kazim Ali's 2009 book is built like a city: fragmentary, recursive, and at once public and personal. Travel fragments the narrator’s experience and story, shattering the idea that an autobiography should be told in complete sentences.