I've recently read "William Carlos Williams and the Meanings of Measure" by Stephen Cushman (Yale, 1985). With "a persistance that sometimes borders on the monomaniacal ... Williams crusaded on behalf of his theory of measure for nearly fifty years". His theory was little more convincing than Hopkins'. Like Eliot and Pound he didn't think that poetry could be really Free.
Reactions to (and re-evaluation of) free verse continue to appear. Books tackling the subject include
- The Ghost of Tradition by Kevin Walzer
- The Ghost of Measure by Annie Finch
- "Missing Measures" by Timothy Steele
- "Questions of Possibility" by David Caplan
Some poets have tried to integrate old forms with new sensibilities. The New Formalists leant towards old forms whereas the Hybrid poets were true to their modern sensibilities. More generally there's a revival of some less common forms. See -
- Hybrid poetry - something old, something new by Tim Love
- Strange Forms by Tim Love (from Horizon Review)
- Without a Net by Ernest Hilbert (from Contemporary Poetry Review)
As the final link illustrates there are dozens of forms that are rarely used nowadays. Some are gimmicky, others are waiting to be rediscovered. I'd like to draw your attention to 2 which I've suddenly seen around
- Instead of rhymes at the end of lines, use anagrams
Beyond it, the treasure he seeks. Walking at his side, two austerer figures: a woman, who grips on dangling tress of his tawny pelt as her lowered head rests(by Richie Hofman, New Criterion). Jon Stone's "Mustard" (Best British Poetry 2011) has lines that end in anagrams of the title - "cry out drams", "heart's mud", etc.
- "terminals" - write a poem that has the same words at the line-endings as a famous poem has - Katy Evans-Bush in her Egg Printing Explained book (she uses Pink Floyd) and John Tranter (he uses Matthew Arnold) have used this effectively.