John Brantingham, US author of The Gift of Form: A Pocket Guide to Formal Poetry, published by Oak Tree Press, has also written poetry collections such as East of Los Angeles. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and in hundreds of magazines in the US and the UK. He has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and won Pearl Magazine's Fiction contest. He lives and works in Southern California.
John, who did not start out as a fan of formal poetry, writes in his introduction,
'... and then I made my largest intellectual shift:
the rules of formal poetry are not there to be restrictions,
and in fact there are not really any rules at all ... '
Rules for John have been replaced by tools.
I met John back in 2011 at the First International Swansea Poetry Festival in the Dylan Thomas Theatre, organised by Peter Thabit Jones (ed. The Seventh Quarry, Swansea) in conjunction with Stanley H. Barkan (Cross-Cultural Communications, New York). The photo above was taken during the festival, and shows the backdrop to Peter Thabit Jones' acclaimed verse drama, set in Swansea, 'The Boy and the Lion's Head'.
I am delighted to have two poems, 'Cornish Evening' and 'Waiting for the Bore', included in The Gift of Form: A Pocket Guide to Formal Poetry.