After Being Asked to Write a Villanelle by David Wagoner — eBook

If you say the same words over
and over, the same words
          in a pattern, you’re bound (no matter
          how much you want to sound
as if you’re not) to be trapped
on an iron spiral staircase….



David Wagoner
David Wagoner has published 18 books of poems, most recently A Map of the Night (U. of Illinois Press, 2008), and Copper Canyon Press will publish; his 19th, After the Point of No Return, in 2112. He has also published ten novels, one of which, The Escape Artist, was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola. He won the Lilly Prize in 1991, six yearly prizes from Poetry, and the Arthur Rense Prize for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2011. He was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets for 23 years. He edited Poetry Northwest from 1966 to 2002, and he is professor emeritus of English at the U. of Washington. He teaches at the low-residency MFA program of the Whidbey Island Writers Workshop.

3 Replies to “After Being Asked to Write a Villanelle by David Wagoner — eBook”

  1. I appreciate this thoughtful piece about how one responds to a fixed form. I also like the wordplay of “winding up” in the midst of describing one’s descending a spiral staircase. Thank you.

  2. Wonderful expression of (and in words far better than I could ever have found) my own experience of trapped frustration when asked to write a villanelle. I was smiling and nodding in recognition as I read.

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