About the Poems
by Boyer Rickel
These poems are from a book length sequence, forty-five figures. I love giving myself artificial constraints, then writing obsessively using those constraints to see what patterns of mind, craft, and theme emerge—working, along the way, to break those patterns, to keep the poems as they develop fresh, unpredictable. After teaching a forms course a few years ago, I decided I wanted to work on poems that were sonnet length but not sonnets. I chose fifteen lines, an arbitrary decision. And then I spent about a year composing, trying each time I sat down to forget what I’d written about before. I didn’t want to control content, only notice form; I was determined not to repeat, as much as possible, the shapes, the points of turn, the sentence types and lengths. My hope is that the poems are seamless, continuous though wide-ranging, each standing as a single lyric thought. I also didn’t want the reader entering the poems with any thematic direction, so they’re untitled.