A whole book of sestinas? Are you freaking kidding me? I know. Hear us out.
The sestina is one of the world’s oldest literary forms. It’s also one of the most tricked-out and wacky: six words appear at the end of 39 lines over the course of six, six-line stanzas and a three-line finale. Since it was invented 700 years ago, people keep writing them.
Why? Because of the challenge it presents poets to experiment with a six-pack of words and a spiral-based secret code hidden inside.
For this incredible anthology, poet and editor Daniel Nester has brought together more than 100 sestinas. Here, in all their glory, are poets from all schools and stripes who have taken the sestina challenge, from Sherman Alexie to Louis Zukofsky and everywhere in between:
- sestina classics from John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Ezra Pound, Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, and Marilyn Hacker
- modern masterpieces from David Lehman, Patricia Smith, James Cummins, Sandra Beasley, Quincy Troupe and Anne Waldman
- double sestinas from Denise Duhamel, Ernest Hilbert and Star Black
- Matt Madden and Casey Camp’s comics sestina
- Florence Cassen Mayers’s minimalist takes
- Jonah Winter’s world-famous “Bob” sestina
- selections from Nester’s picks as sestinas editor at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, from Rick Moody, David Trinidad, Rachel Shukert, Alfred Corn and Steve Almond
- and much, much more!
With comments from contributors that take us “Behind the Sestina,” The Incredible Sestina Anthology is a greatest hits collection of this incredible form.