Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog


In Glad and Sorry Seasons, Chandler does not look towards old phrases and words but to older poetic forms. Chandler is meticulous in her exploration the rondeau, the triolet, the pantoum, the Sapphic stanza, the sonnet, and more. The sheer number of these forms can be overwhelming and disorienting, weakening the cohesiveness of the book.

Chandler’s mastery of these forms, her allusions to other poets, and her translation of five French Canadian and five Spanish American poets make Glad and Sorry Seasons a book of poems about poetry, specifically Chandler’s love for poetic forms as evidenced by “Sonnet Love.”

Yet, the strength of Chandler’s return to these forms is more than homage, it is revision, revising the patriarchal discourse and “ownership” of older poetic forms and highlighting the constraints and criticisms of women poets who are consistently left out of the “canon”: “They seem to sense I’m not one of them; / I’m much too serious, too plain.” Despite the lack of cohesiveness of Glad and Sorry Seasons, Chandler boasts a strong collection of poetry that presents an argument for a return to older poetic forms to further explore the experiences of women and women writers in the present.

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