This afternoon behind me, over the High Street and Common are black clouds rolling across a grey sky. In front of me, over the Grove, is blue sky with puffy white clouds moving fast in the wind. That is 10 minutes ago. Now the sky overhead is overcast and the rain is beginning to fall in large, heavy drops, as thunder growls and passing cars hiss over the wet tarmac.
The fashion which said: to hell with rhyme and metre as long as you express yourself freely with honesty and originality, is long past. And a good thing on the whole. A book arrives, this morning, from America to remind me of this. It is the collected poems of the near, forgotten American poet, Wendel Kees, whose work was referred to me a few days ago by my brother. Says David Wojahn in the introduction: "Kee's poetry exhibited nothing of Surrealist, Beat or Confessional, and in an era, during which verse in open forms became the prosodic party line, Kee's frequent reliance on received poetic form and meters made his writing look decidedly out of date. " I suspect it doesn't any more, which may be good news for Barrett Bonden, who recently began to post sonnets and a villanelle on his technically inclined blog, Works Wells. Particularly so because the volume which arrived to day contains five villanelles and - Bonden has it seems himself been contemplating one - a sestina.