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Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms

85 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems


David Lehman (View Bio)
Hardcover: Macmillan, 1987; Paperback: University of Michigan Press, 1996.

Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms

In ECSTATIC OCCASIONS, EXPEDIENT FORMS, contemporary poets have selected one poem, commenting on the occasion of its creation and on the form the poem eventually took. Originally published in 1987 with a selection of 65 poets, this revised and expanded edition adds selections by twenty additional poets. Other revisions include an enlarged glossary of terms, and more expanded biographies of individual poets. The range of contributors is wide, and includes John Ashbery, John Cage, Rita Dove, Alice Fulton, Marilyn Hacker, Yusef Komunyakaa, James Merrill, Thylias Moss, Robert Pinsky, Charles Simic, and Richard Wilbur.

"This enjoyable romp through the thoughts of 85 poets is a lark masquerading as a collossus...a rewarding glimpse of the passion and restraint, the control and chaos, the artifice and the chance at work in those who practice poetry." — Publishers Weekly

"It's a useful and entertaining anthology." — Washington Post Book World

"David Lehman has briskly refashioned the legacy of the poet-critic.... [T]he self-reflexive, virtually autobiographical currents in ECSTATIC OCCASIONS, EXPEDIENT FORMS undoubtedly are what render it so indispensable and unprecedented." — Robert Polito, Boston Review

"[A] generous and sharp-witted anthology.... an intriguing and unusually informative glimpse into the creative process.... ECSTATIC OCCASIONS, EXPEDIENT FORMS is an endlessly fascinating anthology of poetry." — Newsday

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