The sestina is a poetic form that immediately declares itself to the eye. In the days when it was sung, it must have taken a while longer (say six lines?) for that “aha” moment to dawn on the audience. But the print-poets still like writing sestinas and finding ways of disrupting expectations. Despite an inclination to diversify into an over-literary, pun-juggling, postmodern exercise, there have been some great 20th-century examples by, among others, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Anthony Hecht, Marilyn Hacker and Miller Williams. As a collector of contemporary examples, I was delighted to discover “Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books?” by Kathryn Maris. It returns to the sestina its original qualities of voice and performance.
Read the full article by Carol Rumens and “Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books?” by Kathryn Maris here.