Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by T.S. Kerrigan
Dear Editor,

The disdain for A.E. Stallings's use of the sonnet form in her poem "Containment" I find puzzling [March 2008]. Almost fifty years ago Louis Simpson remarked that all sonnets were jammed or stretched into fourteen lines and that the form was somehow passé. But anyone who has written formal poetry for any length of time knows that many poems which were not intended initially to be sonnets end up in this form. The fact is that fourteen lines is an almost ideal space to encompass a single thought or idea. Many formal poems, if carefully written, will almost naturally fall somewhere between twelve and sixteen lines. Stallings, who is one of our finest modern poets, has written a poem that is complete and intellectually satisfying in every respect. And considering the poet's nuanced expression, one would have to count the lines (idiot's work) even to suspect this poem is a sonnet.

Burbank, California

Originally Published: May 19, 2008

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This prose originally appeared in the June 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2008

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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