In his classic text Rhyme's Reason the distinguished poet and critic John Hollander surveys the schemes, patterns, and forms of English verse, illustrating each variation with an original and witty self-descriptive example. In this substantially expanded and revised edition, Hollander adds a section of examples taken from centuries of poetry that exhibit the patterns he has described.
In the grand tradition of Alexander Pope, John Hollander offers this explication/enactment of poetic form. There are sonnets about how to write sonnets, haiku about how to write haiku, and so on. The writing is clever, entertaining, and instructive, which will surprise no one familiar with Hollander's work. What's even more impressive, though, is how often these poems--which could so easily start to feel like homework--engage you emotionally. The sestina about sestinas is beautiful, and, excepting Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," Hollander's villanelle about villanelles is as captivating an example as one will find of the old French fixed form.